Shoppers come from wide area to take advantage of tax-free weekend

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POSTED: Sunday, September 9, 2012 - 6:13pm

UPDATED: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 7:40am

Louisiana has had two holiday weekends in a row. For Labor Day weekend, workers got a day off. For Second Amendment Weekend, outdoor enthusiasts got big discounts.

Shoppers piled into stores from Friday though Sunday to take advantage of Louisiana's fourth annual Second Amendment Weekend. Every year, on the first full weekend of September, all state and local sales taxes are waived on purchases for hunting supplies, including firearms, ammunition, safety gear, clothing, and all-terrain vehicles.

As the program becomes a tradition, it registers a bigger impact on the economy.

"(We have seen) a large uptick in sales compared to last year, and that's wonderful," said Eric Cutrer, a senior manager at the Cabela's store in Gonzales. "And it says a lot about our economy, and it says a lot about our customers, that they're looking for value."

The overall sales tax rate is around nine percent, depending on the location. That may not seem like a lot, but it got people to spend much more than they initially wanted.

"I planned on getting one life jacket for my grandchild," said Donald Hembree. "it was $15, so I left $846 later."

The tax-free weekend has also becoming a good way to get people to travel here from out of town. Hembree said he lives in George County, Mississippi. Matt Richardson said he drove down in part for the LSU-Washington game, but also to spend some money.

"We don't have a Cabela's up there," Richardson said.

Perhaps the best part for the state is that most shoppers said they do not plan to hold onto those savings.

"(I'll) probably (buy) some more ammo," said Richardson.

"We'll probably go out and eat in Louisiana," said Hembree, the Mississippi resident, "and we'll give it back to the state."

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