Harker Heights-area residents needing school clothes and supplies can get a price break on selected items through Sunday.

Texas’ annual tax-free shopping weekend kicked off at midnight this morning and lasts through midnight Sunday.

The law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said.

Shoppers could save about $8 for every $100 spent, Hegar said.

“As the father of three young children, I know back-to-school expenses can really put a strain on family budgets this time of year,” he said. “This is an opportunity for families to save some money and prepare for the start of the school year.”

Owners of Educational Outfitters, located at 400 E. Central Texas Expressway in Harker Heights, are ready for the weekend.

“We do have a few products, which are tax-free,” said Cindy Schoel, owner of Harker Heights’ Educational Outfitters.

Boy Scout and Girl Scout uniforms are an item parents and troop members can take advantage of, she said.

“Sometimes they can cost $60 or more, so not having tax is a good savings,” Schoel said.

Other products include school supplies used for students, such as pencils, paper, rulers or chalk.

Teacher or classroom supplies, such as CDs, DVDS and instructional books are not included.

As a local business owner, Schoel said it’s tricky to track whether the weekend has a local impact.

“A lot of our teachers and parents are already coming in and will continue to see us leading up to when school starts,” she said.

Local figures on sales tax collected in August won’t be seen until September or October, said Alberta Barrett, Harker Heights finance director.

Some figures are reported quarterly by the businesses, Barrett said.

Monthly allocations are based on sales two months prior.

In October 2014, Harker Heights collected $485,241, a 12.58 percent increase from $430,990 at the same time in 2013.

“We don’t have a way to track if shoppers are buying food or other taxable items during the weekend,” Barrett said.

Shoppers are expected to save about $87 million in state and local sales taxes during the sales tax holiday, according to comptroller estimates.

Texas’ sales tax holidays began in 1999 with shoes and clothing exempted, according to the comptroller’s office. School supplies were added to the list in 2009.

Contact Rachael Riley at rriley@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7553

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