Tax holiday this weekend
At the end of April, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed House Bill 436 into law, which established an annual sales tax holiday for items deemed to help with severe weather preparedness.
The sales tax holiday for 2012 will begin at 12:01 a.m. this Friday, July 6 and will continue through midnight on Sunday, July 8.
During this time, citizens can stock up on many items like batteries, first-aid kits and duct tape without paying state sales tax on those things.
The sales tax holiday was a key recommendation of Bentley’s Tornado Recovery Action Council, which was appointed by the governor following the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak across the state. Over the past year, the council has sought ways to improve the way the state is prepared for severe weather that could occur in the future.
“The bottom line is this sales tax holiday can help save lives. We want to encourage people to stock up on supplies that will help them safely weather a storm and its aftermath,” Bentley said after signing the bill into law. “Alabama is no stranger to severe storms. Whether it’s a tornado, a hurricane, or even an ice storm, we must all be prepared for whenever severe weather strikes. I commend members of the Legislature for passing this extremely important bill.”
In May, the Red Bay City Council voted unanimously to cooperate with the statewide sales tax holiday and agreed to lift city sales taxes on the listed items for this weekend as well.
“I think the idea of a sales tax holiday for severe weather items is great because it gives the citizens an opportunity to buy something they might not have bought otherwise just because it will be discounted,” Mayor Bobby Forsythe said. “Then, in the event that severe weather strikes, they’ll be prepared.”
Forsythe said the safety of the town’s citizens far outweighed the sales tax money on the approved items the city might miss out on this weekend.
“I believe this council feels like anytime we can do a little something extra for our citizens, we’ll be glad to do it just to show our appreciation for all they do for our city,” he said.
The Franklin County Commission also voted to participate in the sales tax holiday, which insures countywide sales tax on the approved items are lifted this weekend as well.
“Looking back at the severe weather we’ve faced in this county, we thought this was a good way to help ensure all our citizens are better prepared for the future,” Probate Judge Barry Moore said. “We as a commission want to do everything we can to make the well-being of the people of Franklin County our top priority.”
Other municipalities participating in the sales tax holiday for severe weather preparedness items include the city of Russellville and the town of Phil Campbell.
Beginning in 2013, the annual sales tax holiday will be held during the last full weekend of February. This will place the holiday in close proximity to the annual Severe Weather Awareness Week and will encourage people to stock up on needed supplies in advance of Alabama’s primary severe weather season.
The following is the list of items that will be covered under the sales tax holiday legislation:
• Batteries including AAA-cell batteries, AA-cell batteries, C-cell batteries, D-cell batteries, 6-volt batteries and 9-volt batteries
• Cellular phone battery
• Cellular phone charger
• Portable self-powered or battery-powered radio, two-way radio, weatherband radio or NOAA weather radio
• Portable self-powered light source, including battery- powered flashlights, lanterns or emergency glow sticks
• Plastic sheeting
• Plastic drop cloths
• Other flexible, waterproof sheeting
• Ground anchor system, such as bungee cords or rope, or a tie- down kit
• Duct tape
• Plywood, window film or other materials specifically designed to protect window coverings
• Non-electric food storage cooler or water storage container
• Non-electric can opener
• Artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs and reusable ice
• Self-contained first aid kit
• Fire extinguisher
• Smoke detector
• Carbon monoxide detector
• Gas or diesel fuel tank or container
• Portable generators
The covered items must cost $60 or less, except for generators, which are covered as long as they cost $1,000 or less.