Alabamans Get Sales Tax Holiday for Storm Supplies

Starting at noon today and running through midnight on Sunday, Alabama residents in some cities and counties can stock up for hurricane season without paying the state's 4 percent sales tax.

The weather-related sales tax holiday is one of several recommendations made by a special council appointed by Republican Governor Robert Bentley in the wake of last year's devastating tornadoes.

"Being prepared is the first step to a quick response to a natural disaster," Bentley said. "If people have the emergency supplies they need, that will go a long way toward helping them weather any storm."

The 2012 sales tax holiday is set for July 6 through the 8th. Starting in 2013, it will be held annually during the last full weekend in February. Eligible supplies include batteries, duct tape, generators, plastic sheeting, first-aid kits, and self-powered lighting.

For Alabama, the so-called “Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday” is a first. But a few states have enacted similar tax breaks in the past.

Louisiana and Virginia gave residents hurricane-related tax holidays in 2008. Hurricane-prone Florida held tax-free hurricane preparedness weekends in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Since then, however, state lawmakers have argued the state's treasury cannot afford the hit--$12 million in foregone tax revenue, according to

Florida did, however, enact a back-to-school tax holiday scheduled for August 3 through 5. Eligible items include clothing, backpacks, briefcases and suitcases with a sales price of $75 or less, plus school supplies priced at $15 or less per item. Georgia has a similar tax-free school supply weekend scheduled for August 10 and 11.