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New Yorkers may get the chance to cash in on tax-free computers later this year.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L Bruno today proposed a "Sales Tax-Free PC week" to boost IT literacy in the state. Bruno wants a one-week waiver in August of the state and local sales tax on home computers, accessories and certain software.

The aim is to boost computer sales by a quarter of a million units.

The proposal would knock around eight per cent off the cost of a computer - sales tax is currently around four per cent state and four per cent county/city tax. The scheme is expected to cost around $20 million, which would be included in this year's state budget, due to start on April 1.

It will include desktops and laptops, plus printers, scanners, CD-ROM drivers and software when bought in the same transaction as the computer.

PC ownership is still pretty low in the state compared to the rest of the US - 48.7 per cent of New York homes have computers, according to the US Commerce Department - which ranks it 34th in the country.

"Over the past decade, personal computers have become a necessity in the household and knowledge of computers and their use is now considered essential for anyone seeking to excel in an increasingly technology-based economy," said Bruno, a Republican for Rensselaer County.

New York would be the second state to offer the tax break - last year Pennsylvania ran a similar scheme, resulting in computer retail sales jumping threefold. ®

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