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How helpful was Illinois’ sales tax holiday for school supplies for Will County parents?

Atiya Coleman Young of Plainfield waited for the Illinois’ state sales tax holiday before buying school supplies for her 11-year-old son–and she’s thrilled her total state sales tax for the items was less than $3.

Since her son is entering middle school, the supplies Young bought for him were a little different than last year. For instance, he did need a calculator and some dividers for his locker, now that he has one, she said.

But, even after adjusting for the differences in supplies between elementary and middle school and inflation, Young was pleased that her expenses this year were similar to last year.

“Some items were slightly more expensive,” Young said. “But nothing was out of line.”

The Illinois state sales tax holiday started Aug. 5 and will end at the close of the business day on Aug. 14, according to the state of Illinois. During this time, people will pay a reduced rate–1.25%-on certain clothing and school supplies, according to the state of Illinois.


Emily Beal of Minooka, mother of an 8-year-old son and a special education teacher at Joliet Central High School, didn’t take advantage of the state sales tax holiday at all.

Beal said she purchased the school supply kit from her son’s school and used Target’s 15% teacher discount for “any other odds and ends” she needed.

But Beal said she’s also heard “a lot of parents complain about the lack of supplies when trying to shop recently in stores.”

For some parents, inflation more than gobbled up any savings from the state sales tax.

For example, Ryan Galloy of Plainfield said he waited until Aug. 5 to order his 12-year-old son’s school supplies, to take advantage of the state sales tax holiday.

But Galloy, a single parent, said his supplies cost more this year than last year due to inflation.

“Last year I spent around $65,” Galloy said. “This year, I spent around $115 for, basically, the same type of supplies.”

Galloy said he bought crayons, pens pencils, sketchbook, joke books folders, disinfected wipes, boxes of tissues, dry erasers, markers, post-it notes and index cards.

When Galloy went to the store to pick up supplies he’d ordered, five were out of stock and will be delivered to his house, he said. Galloy said his son wondered why Galloy bought more Kleenex when the classroom had “17 or 18″ extra boxes at the end of the school year.

“I wish, and this will never happen, that when we pay tuition for the school, that school supplies is part of the tuition,” Galloy said.

The state of Illinois listed the items that qualify for the reduced state sales tax:


Retail selling price must be less than $125 per item

• household and shop aprons

• athletic supporters

• bathing suits and caps

• belts and suspenders

• coats and jackets

• gloves and mittens

• hats, caps, earmuffs

• lab coats

• neckties

• rainwear

• rubber coverings for cloth diapers

• scarves

• underwear

• school uniforms

• shorts and pants

• skirts and dresses

• hosiery and pantyhose

• shirts and blouses


Retail selling price must be less than $125 per item

• shoes, sneakers, and shoelaces

• sandals

• slippers

• socks and stockings

• footlets

• boots and overshoes

• insoles for shoes

• steel-toed shoes

School supplies

Supplies for students’ studies

• binders

• book bags

• calculators

• cellophane tape

• blackboard chalk

• composition books

• crayons

• colored pencils

• erasers

• expandable pocket, plastic, and

manila folders

• glue, paste, and paste sticks

• highlighters

• index cards and index card boxes

• legal pads

• lunch boxes

• markers

• notebooks and notebook paper, including loose leaf notebook, copy, graph, tracing, manila, colored and construction paper, and poster board

• pencils and pencil leads

• pens, ink, and ink refills for pens

• pencil boxes and other school

supply boxes

• pencil sharpeners

• protractors, rulers, and compasses

• scissors

• writing tablets

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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