Some area stores opened early today, and others advertised 'Door Buster Specials' as 'Black Friday Lite,' otherwise known as the Back to School Tax Free Weekend, got underway with a bang, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
"Retailers plan for this weekend," said State Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer (D-San Antonio) who co wrote the revised law which expands the tax free weekend to include school supplies. "This is the time when they put things on sale. This is a time when it is one stop shopping weekend where they can get everything they need for the home, the family, and the classroom."
Texans have embraced the tax free weekend. In fact, when the Legislature in 2011 considered scrapping it to save money, lawmakers phones melted down, and more calls were placed to the State Capitol in defense of the tax free weekend than any other issue.
Shoppers can save all sales taxes, state and local, on any of more than 200 approved items, ranging up to $100. Of course, you can make multiple $99 trips through the checkout line to maximize your savings.
Martinez Fischer pointed out that stores that don't sell anything covered by the weekend still participate.
"You've seen folks who say, hey, we're going to give you an eight percent discount when you come and buy something," he said. "In other words, we'll pay for the tax."
This has become the second biggest weekend of the year for Texas retailers, behind only the real Black Friday after Thanksgiving.
But not everybody is celebrating. Pamela Villarreal with the National Center for Policy Analysis says the weekend doesn't really help the economy, and all it does is starves local and state governments of badly needed tax revenues.
"What is really does, it kind of shifts the timing of purchases," she says. "If people were planning to buy back to school items in July, they just move that purchase to August. There really hasn't been any empirical evidence that the tax free holidays increase consumer purchases."