Sen. Borrello Bill will Tax-Exempt Clothes & Shoes up to $250

Legislation Aimed at Helping Cash-Strapped New Yorkers

ALBANY– Just in time for back-to-school shopping, New York State Sen. George Borrello has introduced a bill, S.9541, to increase the cost of clothing and footwear exempt from the 4 percent state sales tax from $110 to $250. 

“Let’s face it, $110 doesn’t go far when you are trying to buy new clothes and shoes for your kids,” Sen. Borrello said. “Between the prices of gas and inflation, people are hurting. I drafted this bill to ease the burden for folks just a little bit.” 

“It also makes good business sense. In my district, the competition for someone’s hard-earned dollar isn’t with a foreign country. It’s with Pennsylvania,” Sen. Borrello added. “Pennsylvania has no state sales tax on clothing or footwear. People naturally shop where their money goes farther. 

“My hope is that this bill will keep New Yorkers in New York to do their shopping instead of crossing the state line and giving their business to Pennsylvania.” 

The current New York State tax exemption on clothing and footwear has not changed since 1998. Sen. Borrello said raising the exemption from $110 to $250 is justified given the increase in the cost to manufacture clothing and shoes and the recent jump in inflation.  

According to a Bankrate survey conducted by YouGov from July 13 to July 15, 41 percent of those planning to do some school shopping said inflation will change how they shop.  

The National Retail Federation's annual back-to-school survey also shows people are having to adjust their back to school shopping habits, where 38 percent of consumers said they're cutting back in other areas to cover these costs. Just under 20 percent said they are working overtime or working more hours to cover school-related costs. 

“I’m urging my colleagues to consider how difficult it is for families to make ends meet right now and support this legislation,” Sen. Borrello said. “This bill is a win-win. It would help parents and caregivers and boost sales for New York retailers as we are all, finally, recovering from the pandemic. At the end of the day, it’s just the right thing to do.” 

The exemption would not apply to local sales and use taxes unless the local county or city provides an exemption. Sen. Borrello’s bill was referred to the Senate Rules Committee for consideration.