Dillard’s Pushes for Sales-Tax Holiday
Little Rock, Ark. Dillard’s Inc. and small retailers around Arkansas are pressing lawmakers to give consumers an annual sales-tax holiday, a break that all but one of the surrounding states already offer, according to the Associated Press.
A lobbyist for Dillard’s and the head of the state’s retail merchants association told a legislative panel Thursday they support the state enacting an exemption on the sales tax at the beginning of the school year.
“We see an increase in our stores across the board on weekends when there is a sales-tax holiday,” Dean Elliott, the chain’s director of governmental affairs, told the House and Senate Revenue and Tax committees Thursday. “By not having a sales-tax holiday in Arkansas, we are losing revenue to other states.”
All the states bordering Arkansas except for Mississippi offer consumers a sales-tax holiday, typically tied to the beginning of the school year. Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas offer sales-tax holidays during the spring and fall, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators.
Rep. Clark Hall, D-Marvell, told colleagues that he’s working on legislation to introduce during next year’s session to enact a sales-tax holiday during the first weekend in August on clothing, school supplies, computers, software and school instructional materials.
Lawmakers have tried unsuccessfully in past years to create a holiday on sales taxes, and a proposal last year died without any action or discussion, according to the Associated Press. The proposal may be boosted by the support of Dillard’s, the report said.
State fiscal officials estimate that the three-day tax exemption would cost the state about $5 million a year in tax revenue, but Department of Finance and Administration Deputy Director Tim Leathers told lawmakers he did not know how much additional tax revenue might come in by consumers buying other items during the tax weekend.
Safeway to offer flu vaccines
PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway announced that is it offering flu vaccines in all their U.S stores. Now through February 2009, or while supplies last, flu vaccines will be administered at stores. Most stores will give vaccines on a walk-in basis at in-store pharmacies, while others will conduct scheduled flu vaccine clinics.
“The beginning of the flu season is the best time to get vaccinated to ensure you are covered throughout the entire season,” said Dave Fong, Safeway senior vp of Pharmacy. “Our stores and pharmacies have made it easy for everyone to protect themselves from the discomfort and inconvenience of the flu.”
Walmart offers $9 diabetes management products
BENTONVILLE, Ark. Walmart announced that it is offering $9 ReliOn diabetes management products nationwide as part of its affordable pharmacy program. Available exclusively at Walmart, ReliOn $9 products include: ReliOn Ultima Blood Glucose Meter; ReliOn Ultima Blood Glucose Test Strips (20 ct); and the ReliOn A1c test (glycated hemoglobin hbA1c).
“This latest expansion of our health care offering comes from our commitment to help people affected by diabetes save money so they can live better,” said Dr. John Agwunobi, senior vp and Wal-Mart’s president of its health and wellness division. “We are pleased to introduce $9 ReliOn testing products that address some of the unique health care needs of diabetes patients. By providing affordable, quality solutions we hope to positively impact the lives of the millions already living with the disease.”