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Published: Wednesday, 7/2/2003

Register-tape shock strikes on 1st day of sales-tax boost

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

After looking at a receipt showing she'd just paid $1.26 in sales tax on $17 worth of medicinal supplies, Toledoan Sheila Buchanan was incensed yesterday outside a Kmart in West Toledo.

``I hate it. I hate it. I hate it,'' she said, clutching the receipt. ``Did I say that I hate it?''

She wasn't the only Toledoan who felt that way on the first day that Ohio's sales tax jumped from the 5 percent it has been for more than 20 years to a new rate of 6 percent. With Lucas County's added tax burden, the rate on most goods or services was 7.25 percent.

Ms. Buchanan said the increase will make her more conscious of specials and likely to stock up during sales.

Car shopper Everett Noorigian, of Lambertville, notes that the boost adds $200 to a $20,000 vehicle. Car shopper Everett Noorigian, of Lambertville, notes that the boost adds $200 to a $20,000 vehicle.
LISA DUTTON / BLADE Enlarge

The state of Michigan is likely to benefit slightly because of the increase. Denise Sottek, of Whiteford, does some shopping in Adrian. Originally from Toledo, she shops in Ohio out of habit.

But if there's no benefit - Michigan's sales tax is 6 percent too - she said she may spend more in Michigan. ``If I don't have a reason to come here, why should I?'' she said.

Everett Noorigian, of Lambertville, came to Brown Pontiac-Hyundai-Mazda in Sylvania Township to look at new cars yesterday. He knew Ohio's gas tax rose 2 cents yesterday, but he didn't know about the sales tax increase.

``On a $20,000 car, that's $200,'' he said. ``If I could save $200, I might go elsewhere.''

Toledoan Scott Heberger said he thinks most people probably won't realize the sales tax rose until they make a large purchase.

``I work in retail, so I knew about it,'' said Mr. Heberger, an employed of a local La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery. Still, the Target customer wasn't thrilled with having to pay it.

Area counties have differing amounts they tack on to the state's 6 percent rate. Total sales taxes are 7 percent in Wood, Fulton, Ottawa, Erie, Williams, Defiance, Seneca, and Allen counties. Hancock County's is 6.75 percent.

Some shoppers are unconcerned about the increase. Karen Nusbaum, of Petersburg, Mich., said outside a Toledo Target store: ``What's 1 percent?''

Otha Duerson, of Toledo, said he knew about the increase but said both the taxes and the appliance he shopped for at the Appliance Center in Maumee were necessities.

``In our case, the appliance just went bad today. What can you do? You have to have clean clothes,'' he said.

Dave Middaugh, general manager of Appliance Center, said few customers mentioned the tax increase yesterday.

But his store was busy over the weekend. ``On Saturday ... people were saying, `We're going to buy a big-screen TV today to avoid the sales tax increase.' But no one has mentioned it since.''



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