Stinziano and Duffey Seek to Exempt College Textbooks from Sales Tax

COLUMBUS, Ohio – State Representatives Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) and Mike Duffey (R-Worthington), who chairs the House Higher Education subcommittee, will together introduce legislation to exempt college textbooks from Ohio sales tax. 

“As the costs of tuition, fees and materials for college students rise, exempting textbooks from the state sales tax provides students and families with a tool to help make college more affordable,” says Stinziano. “We should provide every opportunity possible to reduce the financial burden on students who wish to further their academic and professional careers here in Ohio.” 

A majority (27) of states currently exempt textbooks from sales and use tax.  Students wishing to purchase sales tax-free textbooks would be asked to show proof of enrollment at an Ohio institution of higher education. 

“The price of college textbooks has risen at three times the rate of inflation since I was born – more than 1,000% since 1977,” said Rep. Duffey.  “While this is outrageous in itself, consider the insult of states charging sales tax for something students have no choice but to purchase to attend college. We don’t tax tuition in Ohio. Why tax books?” 

According to The College Board, the average college student spends nearly $1,200 a year on books and supplies for class.  The total cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, and course materials for college students have greatly increased in the United States over the past several decades, stirring great debate in the Ohio legislature recently.

“In a broader sense, we need to do something to introduce more competition into the textbook market, such as so-called ‘open textbooks’ that are free to students,” said Duffey. “But Rep. Stinziano is right on the mark that we must address sales tax too.”