As first proposed in the Fiscal 1996 Budget, this tax break would help to make New York City's business community more competitive in the key area of retail sales.
For too long, we've let tax policies provide an advantage to other states. Every year the sales tax on clothing and shoes costs New York City over $700 million in retail sales, lost to New Jersey where there is no tax. And this costs New York families, on average, over $200 a year per family.
It's time we give shoppers in New York City the same advantage that consumers enjoy in Connecticut and New Jersey. It's time we strike back.
New York City has added to the effectiveness of this tax initiative by allowing the exemption of our local sales tax. We will continue to encourage the State Legislature to expand this initiative from one week to 52 weeks of the year.
As a result of state and local actions, virtually all clothing and footwear purchases for less than $500 per article will be exempt from the combined 8.25 percent sales tax from January 18 through January 24.
"The sales tax for one week exemption" will apply to most clothing, footwear, thread, yarn, buttons, zippers and similar items used in the making or repairing of exempt clothing.
Next week's sales tax exemption is a move in the right direction, but these changes need to be permanent.
The sales tax has a very regressive impact on our economy. It's a sad fact that the sales tax hurts poor people most and depresses city revenues by making our retail industry much less competitive.
So just as reductions in our hotel occupancy tax helped to spur on the record-setting boom in tourism, we must now do the same for retail sales by reducing all sales tax on clothing purchases in New York City.
I'm sure that the Council and the Legislature will be encouraged by the example that we set next week when we take advantage of this sales tax exemption. Although our tax reductions call for matching cuts from the city and the state, if the state will not go along, I pledge to work with the Council and Albany to reduce the City's portion of the sales tax on our own.
So I'm inviting you to get out there and shop at the first ever "Fashion Capital of the World City-Wide Clothing and Shoe Sale," from January 18th through the 24th. Let's shop 'til they drop the tax.
From Gracie Mansion, this is Rudy Giuliani.