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28      Tax-free Week

  One of the fabulous perks to be a resident of New York State is tax-free week1.

Sunday night’s headline on all the TV stations was not news on the trade of Jaromir Jagr to New York Rangers as their new right wing. It was not the winter storm that was approaching Eastern U.S. It was not even the news on the jury selection for Martha Stewart’s trial. It was a news on the tax-free week that started on Monday run through Sunday.

In the tax-free week, New Yorkers are able to enjoy tax-free shopping by saving the sales tax of 8.625% for clothing and footwear under $110. One of the purposes of tax-free week is for New York retailers to anticipate a boost in sales.

We are urged by Governor Pataki to shop tax free. But, wait a minute! What does tax-free week do to us — the young, dynamic, live-away-from-home, pay-the-bill generations?

After facing a bit of an economy downfall since September 11th, such as increases in utility bills, higher MetroCard fares, higher college tuition fees, price per square foot of an apartment went up with the number of square feet went down which equals to higher rent or higher mortgage rate, on top of that, a recent increase of movie ticket prices to US$10.25 per admission; the last thing we need is a shopping activity.

We might be bittering about the price increases everywhere for the time being. But, guess what? Whether you decide to quit shopping altogether or even live on a very tight budget, chances are prices always go up whether you like it or not. It is uncontrollable.

They say, you live only once. But it does not mean that we all need to go out and spend all of our hard-earned money on shopping just because we live only once. Being a smart shopper is what it is all about and at times like tax-free week, all of us can become smart shoppers.

[1] It is a week-long break on the State's sales tax. The 8.625% sales tax is exempted in the city on apparel purchases under $110, between January 26, 2004 through February 1, 2004.