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August 2, 2002

By Mitch Kimbrell

Stores all over Albany have been busy today as people take advantage of the year's second tax-free holiday.

Clothes under 100 dollars, school supplies, and electronic equipment up to 15-hundred dollars are tax free today and tomorrow.

When the Georgia legislature approved Governor Barnes idea for two sales-tax free holidays, a collective sigh of relief could be heard across the state.

"I have three kids so it helps a lot," says Susan Mize.

The Albany Mall was filled with shoppers today clamoring to take advantage of tax-free goods.

"We're out here trying to get some good deals and take advantage of the sales-tax holiday," says Catherine Ponson.

Back-to-school shopping seemed to be the most popular reason to head to the stores and it gave mothers a chance to spend time with their children who will soon be heading off to school. "I have three so we all are just out," says Georgia Tolbert. "We're going to try to enjoy and just pick the best bargains we can find."

Catherine Ponson says with kids, any price break helps. "With two growing girls, it pays to get any kind of sale you can and take advantage."

Georgia Tolbert drove from Sylvester to shop at the many stores that are coupling the tax break with additional markdowns. And she says she's been waiting for this since the last tax-free weekend.

"I shopped during the tax break and it helped out a lot. I saved quite a bit."

Like Tolbert, lots of shoppers have been anticipating shopping tax-free. Some have even waited until now to buy the clothes and shoes they've been scoping out for a while.

"I waited around, especially for these days, to take advantage of the sales," says Katrina Hall.

And while children don't tend to get up for school very easily, when it comes to getting new clothes... "We were here bright and early when they opened," says Hall. 

Governor Barnes and the rest of the state legislature is hoping that the Shop Georgia tax-free holiday will be the boost the state's economy needs. One thing is certain. Albanians are doing their part.

You still have tomorrow to get clothes, school supplies and electronics tax-free.

Speaking of electronics, sales of computers and personal digital assistants or PDAs have been setting records during the year's two sales-tax holidays.

It's getting harder and harder to get along without some kind of personal computer. College students almost have to have them and PDAs are becoming as necessary in the business world as Post-It notes.

Clay Allmon with Radio Shack at the Albany Mall says tax-free electronic devices have been popular at his store.

"There's been some excitement. Customers have got the kids going back to school, kids going into college, all that. So, we've had people asking about it. A lot of people asking about it. A lot of interest in saving those tax dollars because everybody needs a new computer for school."

Allmon says he expects more people during this holiday than during the last, even though he says March's tax-free weekend set records for sales.