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 FloridaToday.com.
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.