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Sales Tax Holiday draws buyers but many did not wait

By Staff | Aug 14, 2011

Although the Tax Free Holiday brought crowds out to the stores this weekend, many families already did the majority or all of their shopping before the first day of school.

The three-day sales tax exemption period began Friday and ended Sunday for shoppers who wanted to save money on back-to-school items.. The statewide “holiday”, which waived the 6 percent sales tax on clothing, footwear, accessories and school supplies, began in 1998 for Florida residents.

Dorothy Berry said she bought school supplies and uniforms prior to the Tax Free Holiday to ensure they were able to purchase enough uniforms for school. She said she did not really make use of the free tax weekend and hopes that next year it will be held before school starts.

Sorin Cipaian went shopping with his family Sunday to purchase some items that they he did not buy last weekend. Although he makes use of the tax free weekend, he said it really does not save him that much money for back to school supplies.

“What do you save, $6 on $100,” he said.

Cipaian said there were a lot of people in the shops this weekend taking advantage of the no taxes on back to school goods.

In honor of the Tax Free Holiday, Wink FM, Wink TV and the Lee County School District held the fifth annual Stuff the Bus event to benefit the students in need in the district.

The crowds came out as early as 8 a.m. Saturday to the Target Superstore on Daniels Parkway and US 41 to donate items for the school bus. Some of the donations came from people who did not have children and from others who were financially struggling as well.

One of the generous donations came from someone who donated $100 worth of school supplies for the cause.

The majority of the supplies donated were pencils, crayons, notebooks and folders, the basic necessities needed for school.

“We know these supplies will be used all year round,” Lois Thome with Wink News said. “No student will have to feel different in any way.”

She said the donations they received were well thought out as they are supplies that are required for school.

A few rows in the back of the school bus were taken out Saturday, so boxes of school supplies could be stacked along the interior walls of the school bus. Thome said Target brought out more boxes Saturday afternoon because the ones provided to them were full.

She said she wanted to say a big thank you to the community for coming together and helping the kids in the school district.

The supplies collected Saturday will be given to the Lee County School District student service office, so they can distribute them to the schools that were identified with the greatest need.