Severe weather preparedness tax holiday begins today
by Jennifer Cohron
Feb 22, 2013 | 1390 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A state sales tax holiday has been declared this weekend for severe weather preparedness items.

The holiday began at 12:01 a.m. today and ends at midnight on Sunday. The exemption covers supplies that cost $60 or less such as first aid kits, NOAA weather radios, flashlights and tarps as well as generators that are valued at $1,000 or less.

Sen. Greg Reed of Jasper is urging local residents to participate in the sales tax holiday, which is scheduled to be held each February at the conclusion of Severe Weather Awareness Week.

“The goal here is to not only give people a break on purchasing these supplies but also to refocus our attention every year at this time before spring severe weather comes,” Reed said.

No local municipality is among the 190 city and county governments that will be waiving their sales taxes this weekend, according to the Alabama Department of Revenue’s website.

County administrator Jill Farris said the Walker County Commission voted to participate in the first severe weather preparedness tax holiday that was held in July.

However, she said officials were unaware of the switch to February until after the deadline to adopt a resolution had passed.

“I never received notification, and normally I do,” Farris said.

Jasper City Clerk Kathy Chambless said the matter was discussed by the Jasper City Council. However, council members elected to sit out the tax holiday because of its proximity to a one percent sales tax hike that takes effect in March.

“We had letters going out about that matter at the same time we would have had letters going out about this. We just didn’t want so much to hit our merchants at one time,” Chambless said.

She added that the council will re-evalute participation when the sales tax holiday occurs next February.

Reed and Rep. Bill Poole of Tuscaloosa County sponsored the legislation that was passed last year creating the severe weather sales tax holiday.

The annual event was a key recommendation of the Tornado Recovery Action Council appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley after the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak.

Alabama is now one of three states with a severe weather preparedness sales tax holiday.

“We wish that these severe weather events would never happen, but we know they have been a part of our life always and will continue to be. The better prepared we are, then the better we can manage it and be in a position to help our neighbors,” Reed said.

Items covered by the state sales tax holiday include:

•Several types of batteries, including cell phone batteries and chargers

•Battery-powered radios

•NOAA weather radios

•Flashlights, lanterns, and emergency glow sticks

•First aid kits

•Duct tape

•Plywood, window film or other materials, specifically designed to protect window openings

•Portable generators

•Gas or Diesel fuel containers

•Tarpaulins and plastic sheeting

•Any non-electric food storage cooler or water storage container

•Non-electric can openers

•Any artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs, or reusable ice

•Fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors

•Ground anchor systems such as cords or rope or tie-down kits.