Some Shoppers Oblivious to Tax Exemptions

To balance next year's budget Mayor Bloomberg has proposed ending the sales tax exemption for shoes and clothing. That's sparked a debate among policymakers but the discussion is passing shoppers by. WNYC's Ilya Marritz has more.

REPORTER: Since 2006, there's been no tax on clothing and shoes under a hundred ten dollars. But these pedestrians in Soho, all New York City residents, don't know it.

CATANIOI: eight point three six, I wanna say.

MERICORO: i believe it's eight point seven five percent, I'm unsure.

WILLIS: Like eight percent. Is it?

REPORTER: Rachel Willis, Melanie Mericolo and Chris Catanio.

There's a good explanation for the confusion. The city and state have tinkered with clothing and shoes taxes nine times since the year 2000.

Merchants fear bringing back the sales tax would mean fewer customers. But with many shoppers unaware of the current tax exemption, it's unclear how much their spending behavior would actually change. For WNYC, I'm Ilya Marritz.