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New Text Book Tax Exemption Can Help College Students Save Money


Buying textbooks can cost college students hundreds and even thousands of dollars every semester. Some state lawmakers see this as a burden beyond already high out-of-pocket expenses. But now there’s a plan to try to lighten the load.

Credit Jo Ingles / Statehouse News Bureau
Rep. Mike Duffey

A House committee has opened debate on a bill that would exempt college text books from the sales tax.

Republican Rep. Mike Duffey says this can just be one step in the effort to make college more affordable.

“I think it’s just hard with a straight face to say we’re doing everything we can for college students and still tax them on textbooks," Duffey says. 

A fiscal analysis in 2015 found that the tax on textbooks generates about $30 million in revenue.

Acknowledging the possible fiscal impact, Duffey says one idea is to trigger the exemption once the budget reaches a certain threshold.

A student pays about $30 in state taxes for every $500 spent on books.