The sales tax holiday in Georgia
MetadataShow full item record
In recent years, a growing number of states have adopted sales tax “holidays.” While a number of normative arguments about this policy have been advanced in the literature, very little empirical research has sought to understand policymakers’ motives and expectations or how the policy works in practice. This dissertation analyzes the sales tax holiday in Georgia. Using elite interviews, it investigates the motives of Georgia policymakers for adopting the sales tax holiday, as well as their expectations about the probable policy outcomes. Then, using state and county level sales and revenue data, policymakers’ expectations are compared with actual policy outcomes in an effort to better understand the extent to which expected and actual outcomes coincide. This research establishes that the motives for adoption of this policy are both economic and political, but that state policymakers are motivated more by political factors than economic factors. It also demonstrates that state policymakers view the holiday as good policy and successful in achieving its policy purposes. Using both political and economic criteria, the evaluation of the sales tax holiday in Georgia suggests that the policy has partially accomplished policymakers’ expectations: it does save taxpayers money but does not promote additional retail sales. The evaluation also suggests that, as expected by some policymakers, the sales tax holiday in Georgia is revenue neutral to local governments.