Entire state goes tax-free on Aug. 5

By Ryn Gargulinski: Quay County Sun

Anyone who ever wanted to get out of paying taxes now has their chance. In fact, the entire state of New Mexico will go tax-free for the first time in its history from Aug. 5-7.

Thanks to legislation passed by lawmakers in the 2005 session, consumers will get a break on state and local taxes during the state’s “Back-to-School Gross Receipts Tax Holiday.”

Not every item, however, will be slated tax-free during the weekend. The break is focused on clothing and footwear under $100 per item and school supplies.

Exempt items include pens, paper and supplies used in the classroom costing $15 or less per item, computers less than $1,000 and assorted computer equipment costing less than $500 per item.

Of course, the tax-free weekend will only apply if retailers are willing to participate. But many stores in Tucumcari are geared up — and even excited about – the tax-free holiday.

“I think it’s great,” said Michael Orquiz, area and sales manager for Kmart, a store that is going tax-free. “Hopefully it will create more dollars for us by keeping shoppers here in town who will spend their money locally. I don’t foresee any problems with it at all.”

Orquiz said he has seen great effects of tax-free weekends when he worked for Kmart in El Paso. “People would come across the border and from New Mexico, taking the additional hour-and-a-half drive to save on taxes. If they have two or three kids, it all adds up.”

Rhonda Kendel, an employee at Family Dollar, another participating store, said she will take advantage of the tax break herself, shopping for back to school items for her two kids.

“I think it’s a good idea,” she said, not even worried about the hordes of shoppers that may cram the store during the tax-free fest when she’s scheduled to work. “I love a busy day,” she said.

Dollar General is also going to let customers take advantage of the tax break, said Cashier Jamie Marcotte who is originally from California. “It’s new to me but I think it’s a good idea. The state where I come from has never done anything like this.