Illinois Bags School-Supply Tax Break

Even as our state seems to slip further into economic crisis every day, Illinois lawmakers have decided that there will be no back-to-school tax holiday this year.
Governor Quinn signed legislation last year that created the state’s first-ever sales tax holiday, which ran in August and saved Illinois school-supply shoppers 5 cents on every $1 spent.
colored pencils in a circle. But the holiday was not authorized for this year because lawmakers feel Illinois, with its $8.7 billion deficit, just can’t afford it.
Many Illinois retailers are worried that they will lose business to stores in neighboring states like Wisconsin and Indiana.
We wanted to give our Chicago real estate readers a chance to score something out of the expensive back-to-school extravaganza, so here are a few sweepstakes you can enter:
*Protect-A-Bed is running the Healthy Sleep Zone Solutions Back to School Giveaway. All you have to do is visit their website and fill out a form. The Chicago-based company will be giving away mattress encasements on August 19, August 26 and September 2. These are perfect to fight bed bugs in a child’s bedroom or a college dorm room.
*For the eBay Build Your Dream College Pad Sweepstakes, you literally, well virtually, create your own college dream pad. A random drawing will award one entrant with a $5,000 eBay Back-to-School Shopping Spree. Ten winners will receive a $250 eBay gift card and thousands of others will take home various items. Enter by August 14.
*The winner of the “Back to School” Sweepstakes will receive not one but two Apple iPads and a bunch of accessories, a new fall wardrobe and an assortment of other prizes in a package worth $4,640. You can enter through August 29.
*Chicago radio station 103.5 Kiss-FM and Special K are sponsoring the Back to School in Style contest in which one lucky student will be taken to school in a limousine! The contest runs through September 6.
*Barnes & Noble is giving away a $1,000 B&N gift card to two college students in its Back-to-School Sweepstakes. You better hurry on this one: The contest ends on August 11.
Perhaps you feel fortunate enough to give?
Housing Opportunities for Women (HOW) is running a Back to School Supplies Drive to help students whose mothers are recovering from homelessness. You can help by donating specific school supplies, many things you probably have sitting around your home or office.
To arrange a donation drop-off, call Kim Christensen (773) 465-5770 ext. 253 or email her at [email protected]. There is also a drop-off box at Jewel/Osco, 2485 Howard Street, Evanston.
The group would also appreciate a tax-deductible donation. For every $100 received, 15 children get a new backpack. Send a check to HOW, Housing Opportunities for Women at 1607 W. Howard Street, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60626 with “school supplies” in the memo.
HOW says that four times more homeless children experience developmental delays than the general population. Help these kids get their school year off on the right foot.