Governor Robert Bentley on Wednesday urged people across Alabama to take advantage of this weekend's state sales tax holiday for severe weather preparedness items.
"People need to take this opportunity to stock up on the supplies they'll need before, during and after severe weather," Governor Bentley said. "From NOAA weather radios, to first aid kits and generators, these supplies can help you and your family stay safe. Alabama is vulnerable to several different forms of severe weather. Take the time now to plan ahead. If you wait until the storm strikes, it's often too late."
The state sales tax holiday for 2013 will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, February 22. The holiday will continue through the end of Sunday, February 24. As part of the holiday, items related to severe weather preparedness will be exempted from state sales and use taxes.
Items covered by the state sales tax holiday include:
* Several types of batteries, including cell phone batteries and chargers
* Battery-powered radios
* NOAA weather radios
* Flashlights, lanterns, and emergency glow sticks
* First aid kits
* Duct tape
* Plywood, window film or other materials, specifically designed to protect window openings
* Portable generators
* Gas or Diesel fuel containers
* Tarpaulins and plastic sheeting
* Any non-electric food storage cooler or water storage container
* Non-electric can openers
* Any artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs, or reusable ice
* Fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors
* Ground anchor systems such as cords or rope or tie-down kits
The covered items must cost $60 or less, except for generators, which are covered as long as they cost $1,000 or less.
Several cities and counties across Alabama are joining the state by removing their own local sales and use taxes from the same items during the same weekend. A complete list can be found on the Alabama Department of Revenue website at: http://revenue.alabama.gov/salestax/WPholiday.cfm.
The sales tax holiday will be held at the conclusion of Severe Weather Awareness Week, which is currently underway.
"Alabamians have a unique opportunity with the state sales tax holiday to really save money on items that may save them in a future storm," Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner said. "It is imperative that people use this awareness week and tax-free weekend to be prepared for all hazards, which could strike at any time of year."
Serve Alabama, the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Volunteer Service, is continuing its "Ready Alabama" partnership with Lamar Advertising to help promote Severe Weather Awareness Week.
"The partnership with Lamar provides access to more than 70 digital billboard locations across the state," Serve Alabama Director Jon Mason said. "This week, severe weather preparedness messages are currently on display from Huntsville to Mobile. The billboards promote hazard-specific preparedness and emphasize the importance of developing and maintaining an emergency kit for your home or office."
"Severe Weather Awareness Week is the time to both educate yourself and develop an action plan before hazardous weather strikes," added Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist in charge of the Birmingham National Weather Service office. "We at the NWS take our role of providing life-saving information very seriously. However, our best forecasts and warnings mean nothing if you don't do something with this information. So, please join us. Take this week to learn about the threats. Learn how to receive the hazardous weather information. Finally, develop a plan to protect yourself and others before hazardous weather strikes. The life you save may be your own!"
The annual sales tax holiday was a key recommendation of Governor Bentley's Tornado Recovery Action Council. The council was appointed by Governor Bentley following the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak. Senator Greg Reed of Walker County and Representative Bill Poole of Tuscaloosa County sponsored legislation to create the holiday. The measure was approved by the Alabama Legislature in April of 2012 and was immediately signed by Governor Bentley.