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Consumers will likely adapt to July 1 sales tax increase
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 11:32 AM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification.

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or cell (316) 204-8266 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu. Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs.

If you have additional questions for Dotty Harpool after listening to the WSU Newsline, please call her at (316) 978-6018 or dorothy.harpool@wichita.edu.

Background:
Effective July 1, the state sales tax rate will increase from 5.3 percent to 6.3 percent. Dotty Harpool, a consumer behavior expert at Wichita State University, says the sales tax increase will likely go unnoticed by most consumers.

Voice wrap:
Announcer: Effective July 1, the state sales tax rate will increase from 5.3 percent to 6.3 percent. Wichita State University consumer behavior expert Dotty Harpool explains why most consumers won't notice the sales tax increase.

Harpool: "Sales tax is an added extra when you buy a product — that most people will look at the price of the product and that's really what they think they're going to be charged. Sales tax is not usually something a lot of people are going to consider for most consumer purchases."

Announcer: Nevertheless, Harpool says, anytime you increase the amount that a customer owes on a purchase, be it a price increase or sales tax increase, they're not going to be happy because they'll have less money to buy other things. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.

Sound bite #1
Harpool explains why most consumers won't notice the sales tax increase. The sound bite is 19 seconds and the outcue is "look at the price."

Harpool: "And I wonder if a lot of people are not even going to notice the sales tax increase since it's such a small monetary amount, one cent, that many people, that's just not going to hit their radar as something significant, that in most cases consumers don't look at the sales tax. They look at the price."

Sound bite #2
Harpool says the sales tax increase may have some effect on major purchases. The sound bite is 17 seconds and the outcue is "a percent increase."

Harpool: "Probably where an increase in sales tax would affect consumer buying would be for high involvement or expensive or long-term commitment types of products. That's when the numbers are really going to get larger and the dollar figure is going to go up significantly, when you have a percent increase."

Sound bite #3
Harpool says most businesses aren't thrilled with the sales tax increase. The sound bite is 26 seconds and the outcue is "best for the state."

Harpool: "With businesses and the environment that we're in right now, I think consumers are a little weary of business practice in any negative change in what businesses are doing. And even though businesses don't have control over the sales tax, consumers are going to treat them like they are, so I think businesses would probably prefer not to have this increase, but most understand that this is best for the state."

Sound bite #4
Harpool says anytime you raise prices, people are going to be upset. The sound bite is 13 seconds and the outcue is "buy other things."

Harpool: "Anytime you increase the amount that a customer owes on a purchase, they're not going to be happy, be it a price increase or a sales tax increase. That means less money that they have to buy other things."

Sound bite #5
Harpool says consumers are getting more knowledgeable about deficits. The sound bite is 18 seconds and the outcue is "why this was done."

Harpool: "I think in today's economic environment, consumers are a lot more educated on deficits in state and federal deficits. And though it's very painful, maybe this time around, consumers will be a little bit more open to this and a little bit more understanding of why this was done."

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Contact: Dotty Harpool, (316) 978-6018 or dorothy.harpool@wichita.edu.