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Alabama Kicks Off Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

Sales tax holidays are nothing new, as many states hold them every year, usually just before school starts, to allow parents to stock up on everything their child will need for the coming year. The state of Alabama writes a new chapter in the concept however, holding a Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday this weekend, and allowing customers the chance to purchase supplies designed to keep them afloat (so to speak) in the event of severe weather events such as tornadoes and floods.

Alabama’s 4 percent sales tax will be waived on many items such as batteries, tarps, weather radios and more as the second annual version of this Holiday kicks in over the weekend, running from 12:01AM on Friday through midnight on Saturday.  Also, more than 188 county and city governments are waiving their own sales taxes during the event.

Gov. Robert Bentley encouraged residents to take advantage of the savings.

“Alabama is vulnerable to several different forms of severe weather,” the governor said in a statement. “Take the time now to plan ahead. If you wait until the storm strikes, it’s often too late.”

The sales tax reprieve is designed to help residents become better prepared to handle unexpected natural disasters, but it is also seen as a much needed shot in the arm for retail outlets, many of whom are using it as a drawing card for customers and combining the sales tax savings into other deals.

Many retail outfits have stocked up on the tax free items, expecting a higher than average rush of customers looking to take advantage of the opportunity.  The first severe weather holiday was held last July after legislative approval. Unfortunately, the event was met with mixed results, not only from being a new concept but also falling just after July 4.  From now on the event will fall in February and coincide with the annual Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Most of the items that qualify must be priced at $60 or less and they include.

• Batteries: AAA-cell batteries, AA-cell batteries, C-cell batteries, D-cell batteries, 6-volt batteries, 9-volt batteries. (Coin batteries, automobile batteries and boat batteries are not exempt.)

• Cellular phone battery

• Cellular phone charger

• Portable self-powered or battery-powered radio, two-way radio, weather-band radio or NOAA weather radio

• Portable self-powered light source, including battery-powered flashlights, lanterns, or emergency glow sticks

• Tarpaulin, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths, and other flexible, waterproof sheeting

• Ground anchor system, such as bungee cords or rope, or tie-down kits

• Duct tape

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

• Non-electric food storage cooler or water storage container

• Non-electric can opener

• Artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs, reusable ice

• Self-contained first aid kit

• Fire extinguisher

• Smoke detector

• Carbon monoxide detector

• Gas or diesel fuel tank or container

Also on the list are portable generators and power cords priced at $1,000 or less.

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