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

April 1, 2011

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 holiday.

“The idea is that after a Nationals win, fans can shop, eat, stay at a hotel-you name it- and no taxes,” 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 tax 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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