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Tax-free shopping, All-Star $ OK’d; not open containers

| Cincinnati Enquirer | by Chrissie Thompson

COLUMBUS -

Southwest Ohio could get a tax-free shopping weekend, taxpayer money to help put on the 2015 All-Star Game and tiny bonuses for township governments, if a goodies-laden bill that passed the Ohio House Wednesday becomes law.

But a plan that would allow revelers to stroll The Banks with a beer in hand, coveted for the Reds’ Opening Day and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, appears unlikely to pass during this year’s lame duck session.

Under main portion of the bill, Ohio would offer a trial next year of back-to-school shopping free of sales tax, seeking to lure shoppers from states such as Kentucky and Indiana. The holiday for all state and local sales taxes would be Aug. 7-9, 2015, and would include clothes and school supplies, but not computers.

To that proposal, lawmakers this week added a promised $500,000 for the All-Star Game. The amount could go toward paying extra police officers and fire fighters during the game week, beefing up transportation options for visitors or beautifying sidewalks.

But the open-container proposal, the signature change to law sought by Cincinnati leaders ahead of the All-Star Game, appears doomed, at least for now.

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