Press Release
May 3, 2007
Contact: Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121
Senate Finance Committee Approves SB 49 by Zaffirini to Establish Tax-Free Purchase Periods for College Textbooks

Austin, TX -- The Senate Finance Committee today (Thursday) recommended passage of Senate Bill 49 by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, which would provide financial relief to college students by allowing them to purchase textbooks tax-free during the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. As chair of the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee, Senator Zaffirini is committed to improving higher education accessibility and affordability.

"I would prefer to exempt textbooks from sales taxes year-round," Senator Zaffirini said, "but this is a good first step."

SB 49 would establish two, 10-day periods per year during which a college student with a valid student identification card could purchase textbooks tax-free.

"The costs associated with higher education are becoming increasingly burdensome," Senator Zaffirini said. "This bill would provide students with much needed financial support by creating two 10-day periods during which they could purchase textbooks tax-free. I am delighted that SB 49 was reported favorably by the Senate Finance Committee and thank Lt. Governor David Dewhurst for supporting this bill that would increase student participation, higher education affordability and success."

According to the College Board, a non-profit higher education resource that administers the AP and SAT tests, student expenses for books and supplies increased 3.4 percent in 2003-04. Textbooks cost students at four-year institutions an average of $843 per year and students at two-year institutions an average of $745 per year.

This is Senator Zaffirini's third attempt to pass this legislation. She authored similar bills during the 2005 Regular Legislative Session and Special Session.

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SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-LAREDO, speaks regarding SB 49 at the College Student Advocacy Day press conference. A coalition of Texas college and university student government associations rallied to support her bill that would allow students to purchase college textbooks tax-free during the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.