With shopping lists that include more than a dozen items for each student, local parents say they can spend anywhere from $50 to more than $100 just on school supplies for one child as they prepare for the academic year.

That's why all of the parents quizzed by The Cullman Times said they like the idea of the upcoming sales tax holiday. But they also wished for better timing or, better yet, a permanent exemption of sales tax.

Between the hours of 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 4 and midnight on Aug. 6, the state of Alabama will exempt its 4 percent sales tax on noncommercial purchases of clothing, school supplies and computers, software and electronic equipment with educational applications. Both Cullman County and the city of Cullman are also expected to exempt their combined 4.5 percent sales tax.

Shopping with her daughter, Joanie, and her niece, Kerragan, Sherry Ash of Crane Hill was pleased at the thought of getting a discount on school supplies.

"I think it's a good idea, especially if you've got a lot of kids to buy for," Ash said.

To get her daughter prepared for classes at Vinemont High School, Ash said it usually cost her anywhere from $100 to $125.

"And that's just for supplies," she said. That doesn't include clothing.

"Now you have to buy a lot of educational supplies," said Kerragan, 8. "We looked at a list from last year, and if it's as much this year, it's going to add up."

Theresa and Jeremy Powell of Vinemont are also happy about the holiday, but wish there wasn't a need for it at all.

"I think they ought to do away with sales tax anyway," Jeremy Powell said.

"It doesn't make sense, they tax you when you make it and then tax it when you spend it."

Either way, Theresa expects to be in the crowd that weekend to get a discount on school supplies for their children.

"I'm sure there will be one big crowd," she said.

"It will be just like the day after Thanksgiving," Ash predicted.

One person who won't be fighting the crowds will be Johnnie Pate of Bug Tussle, the mother of three children.

She said the timing of the holiday could have been better planned, seeing as how it falls just a few days before the start of the school year. County schools will start classes on Aug. 9, while city schools begin two days earlier on Aug. 7.

"I don't like to wait until the last minute," Pate said.

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