Florida Retail Federation promotes hurricane preparedness during sales tax holiday

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On Sunday, Floridians face another hurricane season, as retailers gear up for a sales tax holiday on hurricane preparedness items beginning May 31. The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30.

Stores will stock extra supplies needed by Floridians in the case of a disaster.

“Many Floridians have learned the hard way that you shouldn’t wait until you’re in the path of a hurricane to stock your emergency kit. The sales tax holiday is a great way for retailers to help raise awareness of the need to be prepared, while delivering tax savings for our residents,” said Florida Retail Federation CEO Rick McAllister. “Retailers are always on the front lines of recovery efforts, and we appreciate this opportunity to help Florida promote preparedness.”

The FRF has created a flyer to distribute to all members that carry tax-exempt items, encouraging residents to visit the Florida Division of Emergency Management for additional resources for hurricane season preparations.

In 2004, Florida suffered through four catastrophic hurricanes, resulting in more than $25 billion in losses in the state; the following year, another series of hurricanes caused losses of nearly $11 billion, according to Florida Office of Insurance Regulation estimates.

The state conducted sales tax holidays on hurricane supplies in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

 “All Floridians need to get a plan for when hurricane season begins,” Scott said. “Florida’s emergency response team is the best in the world, but it’s no substitute for individual preparedness.”

“Hurricane readiness should be a way of life in Florida, and the tax holiday will encourage residents to be prepared throughout Florida, not just along the coast. Governor Scott’s leadership in advancing the hurricane preparedness tax holiday will help save lives,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

The 2014 holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 31, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 8. Specific items covered by the Sales Tax Holiday include:

  • Portable self-powered light sources selling for $20 or less
  • Portable self-powered, two-way, or weather band radios selling for $50 or less
  • Tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting selling for $50 or less
  • Self-contained first-aid kit selling for $30 or less
  • Ground anchor system or tie-down kit selling for $50 or less
  • Gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less
  • Package of AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries, excluding automobile and boat batteries, selling for $30 or less
  • Non-Electric food storage cooler selling for $30 or less
  • Portable generator that is used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage selling for $750 or less
  • Reusable ice selling for $10 or less

The Florida Retail Federation is the trade association representing retailers and businesses selling directly to consumers.

Retailers are responsible for one out of every five jobs in Florida, paying more than $49 billion in wages annually, and remitting $20 billion in sales taxes to state coffers every year.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.