Sales tax break starts Friday

Starting today, shoppers will save a little extra money on some purchases. New York state is getting rid of the state sales tax on clothing and shoes less than $55. That will save shoppers about 4% on those items.

Before last fall, shoppers were exempt from paying state sales tax on any items less than $110. Sen. Patty Ritchie (R - 48th District) says the state legislature decided to reinstate that tax as one of more than 100 tax hikes imposed in the past two years.

Now, the state is meeting shoppers halfway, rolling back the increase on items under $55. Beginning next year, on April 1, 2012, the value of the tax break will go back to what it used to be, and purchases up to $110 will be exempt.

Amanda Nicholson, an assistant professor of retail practice at Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management, says she expects the tax break to help local retailers.

"It will definitely give them a boost. I think any time you see a pull back on sales tax, you can see a jump in sales, and it will definitely help," she says.

Nicholson says she thinks discount stores will benefit the most. She also says shoppers should look at the tax break as a little extra bonus on items they were hoping to purchase.

John Massara, the manager of the Mr. Shop in Syracuse's Armory Square, says he doesn't expect the tax break will help his store very much because many items in the store cost more than $55. However, the Mr. Shop is affiliated with three other stores in Armory Square, and the break could provide a boost to them.

"We always hope for the best," Massara says. "Retail is a marathon, not a sprint. We take it one day at a time."