Pass House Bill 337: Sales Tax Exemption of College Textbooks

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A Petition:

To Urge the Ohio Legislature to Pass House Bill 337: A Bill to amend sections 5739.02 and 5739.03 of the Revised Code to exempt from sales and use tax textbooks purchased by post-secondary students.

The rate at which textbooks have risen in the United States has been absolutely staggering, outpacing the rate of inflation over the same time period. Since 1977, textbook prices have steadily risen over 1,000%[1]. These steep price increases have directly impacted students in a negative manner, making the cost of obtaining an education even more expensive. Illustrating this tremendous effect on students, a 2017 survey of more than 1,000 students from four-year colleges in the U.S. and Canada found that 85% had delayed or avoided purchasing textbooks for their courses even though half did so expecting that their grades would be negatively impacted by their decision[2].

A nearly instant relief to students would be making textbooks tax-exempt in the state of Ohio. Collectively, students spend between $455 million and $563 million on textbooks in Ohio annually. Making college textbooks tax-exempt would benefit students’ pocketbooks between $23 million and $26.2 million each year[3]. Many states such as Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia also specifically exempt textbook purchases for secondary education from sales tax[4].

To close, we urge students and the entire community in Ohio to sign this petition to express support for House Bill 337, sponsored by Representative Mike Duffey (OH 21). Together, we will fight to make education more affordable in the great state of Ohio.

To help with the student efforts to pass House Bill 337, please reach out to Daniel Palmer at daniel.palmer@wsusg.com.


[1] College Textbook Prices Have Risen 1,041 Percent Since 1977, NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/freshman-year/college-textbook-prices-have-risen-812-percent-1978-n399926
[2] Study: High Textbook Prices Lead to Poor Grades, Lindsay McKenzie. https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/09/20/study-high-textbook-prices-lead-poor-grades
[3] Principal Economist Jean J. Botomogno, Ohio Legislative Service Commission.
[4] State Sales Tax Rules for Textbook Purchases, Avalara TrustFile. https://trustfile.avalara.com/blog/state-sales-tax-rules-for-textbook-purchases/



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