With summer winding down, Maryland families soon will begin to trade the relaxation of Ocean City beach and Deep Creek Lake weekends for the rush of back-to-school shopping. The start of the school year is always an exciting time for Maryland students and their families. However, as a parent myself, I know that preparing for a new year can be hectic for everyone. To help alleviate the stress of back-to-school prep, while also highlighting our many outstanding locally owned businesses, I’m proud to announce this year’s Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week taking place Aug. 11 to 17.
Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week is a great opportunity to save money while also boosting our retail economy. During this special week, shoppers can save the 6% sales tax on any purchase of clothing and footwear costing $100 or less per item. Additionally, the first $40 of any book bag or backpack is exempt from the sales tax. The ability to shop tax free for back-to-school essentials, such as school and sport uniforms and sneakers, is a no brainer.
As Maryland’s comptroller, I have visited numerous locally owned shops throughout the state. These family-owned businesses and local stores serve as the backbone of Maryland’s economy. They are a crucial part of what makes our state so vibrant and outstanding. Throughout Aug. 11 to 17, try to shop locally owned small businesses as much as possible. I am immensely proud and impressed by the entrepreneurship, ingenuity and stewardship of the retailers that I’ve witnessed on my visits. Shopping local also supports the people and businesses that help your community shine: a win for all.
For students, the opportunities that Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week provides go beyond the shopping bag. In partnership with the Maryland Retailers Association, we are having a social media contest in which two college or trade school students will receive scholarships of $2,500 and $1,000. These scholarships can be used toward any Maryland university, college or trade school. It’s simple to enter! Just take a fun photo or video of you shopping during Tax-Free Week, write a catchy caption, post to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and include the hashtag #ShopMDTaxFree. That’s it — no application, no essay, no interview.
Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week combines two vital components to a successful Maryland economic future: Prosperous locally owned businesses and happy students! Our younger generation and local businesses of today are the thriving leaders and economic achievers of tomorrow. So, grab your phone, head to your local retailer and post your photos! Have a great summer!
Peter Franchot is comptroller of Maryland.