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D.C. Predicts Sales Tax Holiday Will Boost Baseball Wins

By: Michael Vogler

Opening Day for the Washington Nationals may not have gone well (losing 2-0 to the Atlanta Braves), but a new proposal from the DC City Council may stop a potential losing streak before it starts. The idea? A sales tax holidaySales tax holidays are periods of time when selected goods are exempted from state (and sometimes local) sales taxes. Such holidays have become an annual event in many states, with exemptions for such targeted products as back-to-school supplies, clothing, computers, hurricane preparedness supplies, and more. .

“The idea is that after a Nationals win, fans can shop, eat, stay at a hotel-you name it- and no taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. es,” said a spokesperson for the Council. “All purchases will be tax-free for 24 hours after the end of a home win.”

Other states offer brief holidays for school supplies, hurricane preparedness supplies, energy-efficient appliances, and gun purchases, but this would be the first baseball-related holiday.

Merchants near the ballpark endorsed the plan, arguing that it will increase economic activity and improve D.C.’s image.

“This city needs a winning baseball team,” explained one supportive merchant. “With this holiday, we will sell more merchandise, create more jobs, and pay more taxes. It’s a winning proposition.”

An economist from the Tax Foundation was less optimistic.

Sales taxA sales tax is levied on retail sales of goods and services and, ideally, should apply to all final consumption with few exemptions. Many governments exempt goods like groceries; base broadening, such as including groceries, could keep rates lower. A sales tax should exempt business-to-business transactions which, when taxed, cause tax pyramiding. holidays are gimmicks that don’t increase purchases; they just shift them in time,” he said. “It’s essentially a 6-percent-off sale with free advertising provided by the city. And it certainly won’t make the Nats play any better.”

The sponsors are proposing an income tax increase or perhaps a tax on Nationals players to cover the lost revenue from the sales tax holiday. The council’s fiscal analyst urged them not to bother, estimating zero lost tax revenue.

“If the Nats win?,” he asked. “Like that’ll happen.”

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