Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani
January 11, 1998

Not a Moment too Soon,
Another Tax-Free Week on Clothing

by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani

This coming week -- January 17 to 23 -- is another sales-tax free week on apparel for New York City's shoppers, this time for all items $500 or less, including shoes. And measuring from the overwhelming success of our last two other weeklong sales-tax "holidays" -- last January, for instance, clothing retailers saw a 74 percent increase in sales, and even the owners of businesses that don't sell apparel had a great week -- I know that this week will be a welcome relief for consumers and retailers across the city.

New York City's 8.25 percent sales tax on clothing is a regressive tax that burdens our working families the hardest, because families with smaller earnings pay a higher percentage of their income on clothing.

In 1996 alone, the City lost over $700 million in retail sales to New Jersey because New York taxes clothing and New Jersey doesn't. Eliminating the tax forever would mean more money for you -- an average of $220 more per family every year -- and thousands more jobs for New York City.

The good news is that the success of our tax-free weeks and our advocacy has convinced the state legislature to get rid of the tax for good for all clothing $100 or less, but not including shoes, beginning in late 1999. Now we want them to go further. That's why we need to send the message that we want the tax dropped for good for all clothing and shoes.

That would create an estimated 18,000 jobs in the city and over a billion dollars in direct and indirect spending. Governor Pataki, and members of both the Senate and the Assembly, have been supporters of our weeklong sales tax reductions and other tax cuts that the City has made. I want to thank them for their support, and ask that they allow us to go one more important step -- and that is to get rid of the sales tax on clothes and shoes, completely.

Our fight against the sales tax is another reflection of the new philosophy in City government -- putting money back in the pockets of the New Yorkers who earn it and know how to spend it best, namely families and businesses. We've eliminated over $1.6 billion in taxes so far. Over the next four years, we plan to make further responsible cuts.

From January 17th to the 23rd, don't forget to shop 'til they drop the tax, now and forever.

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