Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Hurricane prep just got less costly

Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal

When can I buy hurricane supplies without paying sales tax?

It's official now: Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law Monday a 12-day sales tax holiday on hurricane-prep stuff. No state or local sales taxes will be collected on certain items between June 1 -- the start of hurricane season -- and June 12.

What's included?

Portable electrical generators less than $750.

Radios, two-way radios, weather-band radios, tarps, flexible waterproof sheeting, and tie-down kits less than $50.

AA, C, D, 6-volt, and 9-volt batteries less than $30. Batteries for cars, boats and television remotes -- size AAA -- are still taxable.

Coolers or ice chests less than $30. (Electrical coolers are still taxable.)

Gas containers less than $25.

Portable self-powered lights, battery-operated flashlights, battery or gas-powered lanterns, or candles selling for less than $20.

What about plywood?

No luck. Lawmakers debated ways to include the handyman's favorite window treatment but couldn't figure out how to prevent building contractors from exhausting local supplies for use in construction projects.

How much is this costing the state?

Best estimates are close to $10 million -- a drop in the storm that is Florida's $63 billion budget.

What about school supplies?

You'll have to wait. Lawmakers approved what's fast becoming a traditional back-to-school shopping holiday, but the nine-day break won't begin until the end of July. Then you can buy tax-free certain shoes, clothes and books under $50 and school supplies under $10. Similar back-to-school shopping holidays were held in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004.

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