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Proposed bill could save students money on textbooks

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eanette Martinez, a graduate student studying art history, searches for her required textbooks in preparation for the fall semester. Courtesy of Kyle Powell.

Jeanette Martinez, a graduate student studying art history, searches for her required textbooks in preparation for the fall semester. Photo credit: Kyle Powell / Lantern reporter

A bill to be introduced later this week by State Representatives Michael Stinziano, D-Columbus, and Mike Duffey, R-Worthington, will move to exempt college textbooks from Ohio sales tax.

Ohio’s state sales tax is 5.75 percent. According to the Ohio State University Office of Undergraduate admissions, the estimated annual cost of required books and supplies for students is $1,234. If the bill passes, the tax exemption would save the average student around $70 per year.

Stinziano said they encourage discussion about the price of textbooks for students.

“We’re open to the broadest definition we could apply (to textbooks),” he said. “We don’t distinguish between print and electronic.”

Stinziano said that the bill would add Ohio to a growing list of states that have implemented similar measures.

The bill falls in concert with current trends in legislation aimed at controlling the ever-rising costs of college tuition, including a measure from Ohio’s most recent state budget, which froze tuition at public universities for two years.  

Stinziano announced both his excitement about working with Duffey on the proposed legislation and his goal to make college more affordable for Ohio students in a Tweet on Aug. 25.

But a bookstore employee near Ohio State’s campus views the proposed bill skeptically.

“I don’t think it will have any effect on the pricing of textbooks,” Karen Clark, the office manager at the Student Book Exchange, said.

Clark added that determining which books are exempt and which are not will be difficult.

Some students, however, are optimistic. “It will be good for students. I think it’s a great start,” Rachelle Srinivas, a first-year in biology, said.

Stinziano said he’s hopeful students could see a change in the next year.

“If it goes according to the legislative calendar, optimistically, next fall is the earliest we could get it signed,” said Stinziano.

One comment

  1. Exempting students from sales tax? To really aave on textbooks, students need to buy books online after they compare all of their options. 5% is nothing, 95% is meaningful.

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