State sales tax drops 1 percentage point Saturday

$20,000 car will cost $200 less when temporary levy expires Sat.
2013-05-31T00:00:00Z State sales tax drops 1 percentage point SaturdayHoward Fischer Capitol Media Services Arizona Daily Star

Got your eye on a shiny new car? Or maybe just a new refrigerator?

You might want to cool your heels for a day. Everything else being equal, it could save you money.

Today is the final day for the temporary 1-cent sales tax approved by Arizona voters in 2010. What that means is the state sales tax, now 6.6 percent, will drop to 5.6 percent Saturday.

So everything subject to the state levy will get 1 percent cheaper at midnight.

Is it worth waiting? That depends on how expensive the item is, and how badly you need it right now.

The difference on the price of cleaning supplies is not enough to register. And even on a $250 camera, that $2.50 savings may not be worthwhile.

But consider: A $1,000 refrigerator currently comes with $66 in state sales taxes, plus whatever is the local bite. On Saturday, the tax on that same refrigerator will be $10 less.

The bottom line on a $1,300 washer-dryer set will be $13 less. And the price difference on a $2,000 living-room suite will be $20.

A $20,000 car today comes with $1,320 sales tax added to the bottom line. Tomorrow? It's $200 less.

And if you're buying one of those humongous motor homes with a six-digit price tag, the savings of waiting a day really add up.

But economist Dennis Hoffman at Arizona State University pointed out it's not unusual for automobile dealers to have special deals at the end of the month to move inventory and meet sales targets. In that case, buying today might make sense.

DID YOU KNOW?

The temporary sales tax was pushed by Gov. Jan Brewer as a way of raising close to $1 billion a year for three years when the bottom dropped out of the state economy. Those revenues were combined with spending cuts and borrowing.

A citizens' initiative last year to make the 6.6 percent tax rate permanent, partly to help fund education, failed after Brewer and certain business interests lined up against it. So the May 31 self-destruct date stands.

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