On Saturday crowds lined the streets of Sanger to soak in the 64th annual Nation's Christmas Tree City Toyland Parade. Linda Rodriguez was one of them. Rodriguez says, "I love little parades and I love family events like this." But, Rodriguez says she was also in town to take advantage of Sanger's first sales tax holiday.
This year, the Sanger City Council voted to waive the city's roughly 2% sales tax to coincide with the annual parade. Local business owners like Alonzo Garcia are thrilled. Garcia says, "It's been very exciting. We've had a number of customers coming in as a result of the no-tax sales day and also with the people coming together for the parade was also a big plus.
City officials say axing the sales tax is a response to tough economic times. Mayor Joshua Mitchell says, "At our peak, we had about 33 percent unemployment, so that's a lot of people, that's almost one in three people you are walking into who are unemployed." He adds, "City sales tax is about 1.75%, so on your small items it may not have that much of an effect but if you're buying a car it can save you thousands of dollars this weekend."
City officials say the unemployment rate in Sanger is now at 23 percent. They're hoping attracting shoppers to the area will keep more people employed and stimulate local businesses.