Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani


Mayor's WINS Address
Sunday, January 26, 1997

Good morning. We just finished one week of shopping without any sales tax. It was a one-week holiday on sales tax for clothing purchases of $500 or less, or shoe purchases of $500 or less.

And from everything that I can tell, it has been a great success. Stores throughout all of the five boroughs are reporting sales up 80%, 90%, 110%, 120%. Even stores that were not affected by the sales tax reduction have demonstrated increased volume of sales.

Radio Shack, for example, has sales that are up even though they don't have clothing purchases and they don't have shoe purchases. Fish's Eddy, which is a store that specializes in selling housewares and dishes and things like that actually did away with the sales tax in order to compete.

This was a wonderful experience for New Yorkers. To feel what it's like in other places in America, like in Connecticut and New Jersey, where people can actually buy clothes without having to be burdened by a sales tax. And the most important part of this is, it helped people who are poor more than anyone else. People who have limited incomes have to devote a very large percentage of their income to buying clothes. And they were allowed to buy clothes without the burden of this very difficult and very regressive tax.

And now we can't lose the momentum. We've demonstrated that by eliminating the sales tax on clothing purchases of $500 or less and on shoe purchases of $500 or less, you can create enormous volumes of commercial activity. You can create increased revenue for the city and other areas and increased jobs for people.

Now what we want is to keep the pressure on Albany. To first of all eliminate this tax which now the Speaker of the Assembly Shelly Silver is proposing to eliminate in April of 1998, and I want to thank him for his leadership on this issue.

But we'd like to have some relief this year. So I would ask all New Yorkers to join me in asking Albany to give us another week, just like the week we've just had, in time for going back to school. In August, in September, we'll work on the week with you to determine what is the best week.

I think it would be really terrific if we had another week in which people could buy clothes $500 or less, shoes for $500 or less, without having to pay a sales tax. So that all of the parents in the city of New York can buy the clothes they need for their children to go back to school without having to have the burden of this tax.

I want to also thank all of the stores that participated, all of the stores that dropped the sales tax, increased their sales volume and really worked very hard to make this experiment a tremendous success.

And I particularly want to thank New Yorkers for literally doing what we asked them to do, which was shop 'til they drop the tax. You demonstrated that by reducing the tax, by eliminating the tax, you can actually create more commercial activity.

You demonstrated precisely why our massive reduction in the hotel occupancy tax two years ago led to two years of record tourism and a lot more jobs and hotels and restaurants. We can do the same thing for retail sales in this city if we all stick together.

Thank you to all New Yorkers, thank you to all the businesses in New York, and let's keep fighting and let's keep shopping 'til they drop the tax.

Enjoy Super Bowl Sunday. Thank you very much. This is Mayor Rudy Giuliani from Gracie Mansion.

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