States debate soundness of sales tax holidays

Sales tax holidays have been a popular way for states to stimulate consumer spending in recent years

Sales tax holidays have been a popular way for states to stimulate consumer spending in recent years. However, many governments are considering suspending this year's holiday in light of widespread fiscal challenges that have racked public programs from education to healthcare.

According to Daily Finance, 17 states will hold sales tax holidays, many of them set to unfold this weekend. Illinois is the only state to have cancelled its holiday this year. Meanwhile, Massachusetts, which has its sales break this weekend, is expected to lose $20 million to $25 million as a consequence, according to the Council of State Governments.

North Carolina is another state debating whether or not to proceed with the date in light of its budget troubles.

"Our sales tax holiday results in the loss of $12 million each year," Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, reported in The News & Observer, calling it "money that could support early childhood education or improve the educational attainment level of the state's young work force - both of which were cut this year because of the failure to take a balanced approach to closing the budget shortfall."