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Bay Times and Record Observer: Franchot visits Outlets, touts tax-free week

Bay Times and Record Observer

Franchot visits Outlets, touts tax-free week

August 24, 2017

By Mike Davis

QUEENSTOWN — Stopping in Queen Anne’s County Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 16, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot met with elected officials at the Queenstown Premium Outlets to support the Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week, as well as bought a new swimsuit with the 6 percent sales tax savings.

Gathered outside the Eddie Bauer store, Franchot and others promoted the annual savings week for shoppers. The idea behind the program is to allow shoppers to ready their families for the upcoming school year, though Franchot said the week of savings is for all Marylanders.

Franchot said the week is “an act of complete brilliance” because it turns a slow shopping week in August into one of the busiest of the year. He said though the state loses about $6.5 million in taxes, it makes it up due to folks making extra purchases that are not tax exempt.

“It’s a win for the state, it’s a win for the business community, and most importantly it’s a win for Maryland taxpayers,” Franchot said.

The comptroller also expressed his pleasure with seeing all of the out-of-state license plates filling shopping malls in Maryland, happy they are incentivized to shop in the area.

Patricia Cahall, Queenstown Premium Outlets general manager, thanked Franchot for pushing initiatives, like the tax-free week, to “help us in our sate, in our county, in our townships.”

Cahall praised Franchot for his work in pushing the start of the school year to after Labor Day weekend, an executive order Gov. Larry Hogan signed this past legislative session. She said the outlets, like many businesses, rely on local tourism to help generate money, so one extra week of beachgoers pulling off U.S. 50 and entering the shopping center is beneficial.

Lisa Jones, director of marketing and business development at Williamsburg Premium Outlets, said though bargain deals can be found at the outlets every day, “this week the trip is a little bit sweeter because the deals are a little bit greater.”

For Queenstown Commissioner George Plumbo Jr., the tax-free week makes things much more affordable to local shoppers. “Every penny for a lot of families means buying the right things for them,” he said.

Sheriff Gary Hofmann, who called the tax-free week a great incentive for families, said it’s especially helpful to people trying to make ends meet. He said the exempt sales tax can get families out buying backpacks and other school items needed, making “the most of their hard earned dollars.”

Follow Mike Davis on Twitter: @mike_kibaytimes.

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