State Rep. Kevin Bacon (R-Blendon Township) has introduced a bill in the Ohio House that would grant two tax holidays a year -- exempting items such as school supplies, sporting goods, computers and clothing -- in attempts to boost the economy.

State Rep. Kevin Bacon (R-Blendon Township) has introduced a bill in the Ohio House that would grant two tax holidays a year -- exempting items such as school supplies, sporting goods, computers and clothing -- in attempts to boost the economy.

The bill, which will now go to committee, would send foot traffic into stores, helping retailers, while saving shoppers money, Bacon said.

"It's meant to serve as an economic stimulus and, hopefully, bolster some activity in the retail sector," he said. "It does supply a little relief for families. It would be helpful to them to put a little money in their pockets."

In crafting the bill, Bacon said he studied similar bills in other states and found that tax holidays not only created a boom in business for stores selling tax-exempt items but also for those selling taxable items.

"What the retailers will tell you is what helps business is traffic to the stores," Bacon said.

And though the state loses out on tax revenue from the exempt items, he said some states, such as Alabama, report increased tax revenues through tax holidays because of people buying taxable items as well.

Kriss Rogers, owner of Outside Envy and president of the Westerville Uptown Merchants Association, said she sees real value in the state establishing a sales tax holiday.

Rogers said Uptown businesses that would have tax-exempt items, such as Encircle, Hey Diddle Diddle and Deju Vu, would stand to benefit, as would shops such as hers that would see additional traffic.

"Any time you do something like that, it would bring more foot traffic Uptown," Rogers said. "Everyone would benefit."

Rogers said she has seen that benefit firsthand working for a national retail chain. Business would boom on sales tax holidays for stores in those states, Rogers said.

"From a merchant standpoint, I know this would boost our business," she said.

But Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce president Janet Tressler-Davis said she's slower to lend her support to such a proposal.

"On the surface, it sounds like a great idea because it would bring customers to our stores," Tressler-Davis said.

However, she said she would like to see data from states with sales tax holidays that show whether businesses benefit long term from the tax breaks, or if the tax holidays merely cause customers to flock to businesses on certain days, making purchases they planned to make anyway.

"I don't know that we've ever done that in our state, so we have no expectations to fall back on," Tressler-Davis said. "We certainly want to promote people doing business in our community."

The bill would go further than stimulating the economy, Bacon said, because it would demonstrate to companies and entrepreneurs that Ohio is making strides in become more business-friendly.

"That's what we're really trying to do," he said. "It's a good piece of legislation. It will help, but it's a first step."

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com