EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS: Sales Tax Holiday ends today

Aug. 04, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Today is the last day for North Carolinians to take advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday weekend this year, and maybe forever.

The General Assembly cut the holiday in order to pay for tax reform which will likely help companies and some people save money but which will lose the state money, at least in the short term — hence the need to stop giving shoppers a three-day exemption from paying sales taxes on back-to-school supplies or energy-efficient appliances.

The GOP's tax reform cut personal and corporate income taxes worth hundreds of millions of dollars while making the state's coffers more reliant on sales tax revenues, so having a sales-tax-free holiday didn't make much sense to the lawmakers. However, their reform also closed just 48 of the state's 318 tax loopholes, which the Department of Revenue estimated cost $9.2 billion annually — half of the state's $20 billion budget.

If the tax reform, with its lower income tax rates and loopholes left intact, eventually doesn't end up costing the state too much — or even resulting in more revenue — the Sales Tax Holiday might be restored; retail lobbying groups are already pushing hard for its return. But for now, today's the last day it will exist for the foreseeable future.

In other news...

Car owners in Western Harnett rejoice: A new Advance Auto Parts opened Thursday in Spout Springs at 1590 N.C. Hwy. 24/87, near The Wing Company and Jelly Beans Frozen Yogurt. The store offers parts sales as well as several free services — workers will install windshield wipers for free and will install batteries following a complimentary check of a vehicle’s electrical system and old battery. Customers can also drop off old motor oil and batteries to be recycled.

Same services, new location: The Lee County Arts Council has closed the Artists' Loft and is moving both its office and the loft into a single location, at Steele Street Mall where Ken's Records was. The grand opening is planned for sometime in September. Meanwhile, the group is still accepting applications for grassroots grants. More informations can be found at www.ncarts.org, and people can call (919) 799-6596 with questions.

Coming on the heels of a $42 million settlement in June over allegations it neglected foreclosed homes in black and Latino neighborhoods nationwide: So far this year, according to a press release, Wells Fargo has donated $390,000 and 1,200 volunteer hours to 14 different Habitat for Humanity groups in central and eastern North Carolina — including Sanford's branch of the charity which builds houses for low-income families.

Walmarts galore: The new Walmart Express, the big box store's dollar store/pharmacy/gas station combo, in Coats opened last week. The store in Broadway will have its own grand opening Aug. 21.

Business fluctuations: In the last week, eight new corporations have formed in Lee County — A&B Family Sales, ASC Photography, Brewer's Buddies, Cornerstone Patios and Decks, J.A. Hollmann Professional Language Services, Paramour Surgical, Provisions Investment Properties and RMP Community Association — and one, Robert W. Patterson, M.D, P.A., dissolved or withdrew.

Have business news? Contact Will Doran at wdoran@sanfordherald.com or (919) 718-1217.