Governor Robert Bentley announced the dates and details for the state's first-ever sales tax holiday on weather preparedness items during a press conference held Monday in Daphne. The 2012 sales tax holiday is set for July 6-8, but starting in 2013, it will be held annually during the last full weekend in February.
At today's news conference, Bentley also discussed the state's monitoring of Tropical Storm Debby and the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's immigration law.
Below is a press release issued by the Office of Governor Robert Bentley:
DAPHNE – Governor Robert Bentley joined state and local leaders Monday to discuss the ongoing monitoring of Tropical Storm Debby and final preparations that are underway for Alabama's first-ever state sales tax holiday for severe weather preparedness items.
"We are continuing to track this storm around-the-clock. As we've seen, there can be major changes in the forecast track in a short period of time," Governor Bentley said. "While we may not have a direct hit from Debby, we are still seeing the effects. There have been very dangerous currents along the Alabama Gulf Coast, and people need to continue to monitor weather conditions."
"Tropical Storms Debby is a good example of the importance of being prepared for severe weather," Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner said. "With the unknowns of any tropical system, preparing in advance can make a real difference."
Governor Bentley and Director Faulkner had already been scheduled to speak at a news conference in Daphne on final preparations for Alabama's upcoming state sales tax holiday on severe weather preparedness items. The holiday will help residents prepare for future storms or natural disasters.
"Being prepared is the first step to a quick response to a natural disaster," Governor Bentley said. "If people have the emergency supplies they need, that will go a long way toward helping them weather any storm."
The annual sales tax holiday was a key recommendation of Governor Bentley's Tornado Recovery Action Council. The council was appointed by the Governor following the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak. Legislation that created the holiday was approved in April and signed by Governor Bentley.
As part of the holiday, items related to severe weather preparedness will be exempted from state sales and use taxes over a designated weekend. A provision also allows counties and municipalities to join the state by removing their own local sales and use taxes from the same items during the same weekend. More than 200 local governments across the state have decided to join.
"The number of municipalities participating in the first year is truly impressive," Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee said. "Many of these cities and counties participate every year during the sales tax holiday for back-to-school items and have decided to participate in this additional weekend to help Alabamians prepare for severe weather."
The sales tax holiday for 2012 will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 6. The holiday will continue through midnight on Sunday, July 8. By having the holiday in July of this year, retailers and municipalities were given time between the holiday's legislative approval and the designated weekend to organize and prepare for participation. Final preparations will continue between now and the start of the holiday on July 6.
Items covered by the sales tax holiday include:
-Several types of batteries, including cell phone batteries and chargers
-NOAA weather radios
-Flashlights, lanterns, and emergency glow sticks
-First aid kits
-Plywood, window film or other materials, specifically designed to protect window openings
-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.
"This sales tax holiday will be good for the public and for retailers," Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said. "The main objective is safety. By stocking up on supplies, families can be better prepared for future emergencies."
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.
Read more on Gov. Bentley's reaction to the Arizona immigration law ruling here: Gov. Bentley responds to AZ immigration ruling
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