A unique week of April sales tax free in CT includes sports equipment

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HARTFORD — Consumers who take advantage of the first-ever spring tax-free week for clothing and footwear under $100 will save up to $4.2 million, state Revenue Commissioner Mark Boughton.

“It’s a drop in the bucket for some people, but it really means a lot, statewide, for people who are struggling,” Boughton said.

In a virtual press conference with Governor Ned Lamont and retailers, Boughton said the tax-free week, which runs through Saturday, was chosen to coincide with school vacation weeks. Retailers said they have already noticed the uptick in shopper traffic.


“We certainly want to encourage people to get out, to shop,” Boughton told reporters, pointing out that sporting goods, including shoes and team uniforms, are included in the tax-free week. “It was something that was important to the governor and members of the legislature,” Boughton said. “We want to make it a little easier for parents to participate in this stuff.”

Items must be priced under $100 to qualify for the break.

“Support your local retailers,” Lamont said. ” It’s really important. We’ve been through a pretty messy couple of years with COVID and we’re coming out of it now, and you’ve got Ukraine and you’ve got supply train issues in China. You have inflation. So we want to do everything we can to make sure our retailers and malls stay up. It was hard on the consumer. Inflation is tough and we are trying to do everything we can to make it easier.

The governor said that with gasoline prices falling after the General Assembly voted to suspend the gasoline tax until the end of June, along with free rides on public buses, he will be easier for more people to shop this week.

For Stephanie Blozy, co-owner of a West Hartford store that focuses on athletic shoes, that means she’ll be able to sell more track shoes to athletes during their seasons. Weeks spent tax-free did not include sports shoes, she added, speculating that was why there was a queue outside her Fleet Feet store on Monday morning.

Blozy said many consumers may still be unaware of the tax-free week. “It’s funny, because if we offered 10% off at the store, no one would show up. But for some reason when you say it’s tax-free week, people come out of the woodwork,” Blozy said.

Ken Sterba, general manager of the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford, said that in addition to helping retailers, it’s a boon for consumers. “As I was walking through the mall this morning, there were a lot more people than we normally see on a Monday and it’s great to see,” said Sterba, who credits the tax-free weeks, usually held in August, 20 to 25% increase in consumer traffic.

Timothy Phelan, president of the Connecticut Retails Merchants Association, which has 1,600 members, thanked lawmakers and Lamont for reaching out earlier this year for advice on a possible spring tax-free week, including issues techniques related to cash registers. “The deadlines work for us, and having them aligned during the majority of school vacations for students is great,” Phelan said.

[email protected] Twitter: @KenDixonCT

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