Many tax policy experts, however, look askance at the sales tax holiday phenomenon. “They’re really mostly just a political gimmick,” said Meg Wiehe, state tax policy director at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Elected officials, she said, like the opportunity to talk about how the holidays save voters money.
But in reality, she said, the savings from temporary sales tax relief on relatively low-dollar purchases are minimal. Sales taxes disproportionately affect low-income families, who, she said, “really need a reprieve on a daily basis, not just on one weekend.”