The campaign began during a civics lesson at the Mary M. Walsh Elementary School. The students, upset that children’s books were not exempted from the sales tax but items such as magazines, newspapers, and candy were, helped write legislation to change the law.
“It’s important to me because I like to read,” 10-year-old Malissa Maddox told the Union-News in Springfield. “If kids want to buy books and they can’t afford the tax, then that’s not fair.”
The Union-News has endorsed the youths’ campaign, saying the students displayed a “grasp of the state tax code and tax exemptions, while exhibiting the kind of passion only an 11-year-old can muster.”
The fifth-graders helped draw up legislation eliminating the tax on children’s books. So far they have garnered support from Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, and legislators such as Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA). They have also gathered more than 3,2000 signatures supporting the tax elimination.