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Retailers urge government to endorse sales tax holiday

Washington — Retail ceos from some of the largest companies in the U.S. joined the National Retail Federation in asking Congress and President Bush to pass a nationwide sales tax holiday, positioning it as an economic stimulus that would save consumers $6.5 billion.

The legislation, which has already been introduced into the Senate and House, would allow participating states to stop collecting state and local sales tax for a 10-day period. Congress would reimburse the lost revenue. All big-ticket items would be covered by the holiday, including automobiles. However, taxes on alcoholic beverages and tobacco would not be suspended.

Currently, 45 states collect sales taxes, which average 6 percent to 8 percent.

Among the 33 executives who signed the NRF letter were Gordon Segal, ceo, Crate & Barrel; John Dunham, president, May Department Stores Co.; George Heller, president and ceo, Hudson's Bay Co., Alan Lacy, chairman, president & ceo, Sears; Brad Martin, chairman and ceo, Saks Inc.; Bill Podany, chairman, president & ceo, ShopKo; Allen Questrom, chairman and ceo, J.C. Penney Co.; and Jim Zimmerman, chairman and ceo, Federated Department Stores.

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