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Tax holiday could cover more ground

Today begins a two-day sales tax holiday for Mississippians, but unfortunately residents need a detailed list to understand what is and what isn’t exempt from tax.

The sales tax holiday originated in the 2009 Legislature. It’s a good idea to spark a little economic activity, but it’s too limited to be of significant help.

Currently the sales tax holiday only includes items of clothing and shoes, but only when each item has a value of less than $100 — so no Jimmy Choos for the ladies or Salvatore Ferragamos for the gents.

Accessories such as jewelry and handbags aren’t exempt. Baseball caps are tax-exempt, but the usual 7-percent tax hits football helmets.

We’ve long said the Legislature could really make an impact — one that could make a much more meaningful impact on local businesses by allowing more exemptions and a higher threshold of value.

How much more business would be done if the cap was raised from $100 to $1,000?

It’s difficult to know without trying it. The Legislature was wise to dip the state’s toe in the water back in 2009. But it would be wiser still to realize that the toe didn’t freeze and the foot didn’t fall off.

In fact, the loss of taxes on the last few holidays didn’t seem to be much of a blip on the state’s tax receipts. Why not open things up a bit more and keep doing so until we see and impact, then back off?

If the tax incentive was made significant enough and promoted heavily enough, it’s conceivable to think that people from out of state might be lured to shop on the holiday.