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Tax holiday helps Floridians prepare for hurricane season
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Photo courtesy NOAA
One of Florida’s most devastating hurricanes, Andrew approaches the east coast on Aug. 23, 1992.
Florida lawmakers approved a Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, which begins May 31 and continues through June 8.

Hurricane season begins June 1 and continues through Nov. 30.

“Government should encourage rather than hinder Floridians from preparing their homes and families for severe weather that threatens our state during hurricane season,” said Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, in a May 2 press release – the last day of the 2014 legislative session.

The legislature also approved a back-to-school tax holiday scheduled for Aug. 1-3 and a sales tax holiday for energy efficient products from Sept. 19-21 for the first $1,500 of the sales price for new Energy Star or WaterSense products.

During the hurricane preparedness tax holiday, the following items are exempt from state sales tax and county discretionary sales surtaxes:

• Portable self-powered light sources selling for $20 or less

• Portable self-powered radio, two-way radio, or weather band radio selling for $50 or less

• Tarpaulins or other flexible waterproof sheeting selling for $50 or less

• Self-contained first-aid kits selling for $30 or less

• Ground anchor systems or tie-down kits selling for $50 or less

• Gas or diesel fuel tanks selling for $25 or less

• Packages of AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries, excluding automobile and boat batteries, selling for $30 or less

• Nonelectric food storage coolers selling for $30 or less

• A portable generator selling for $750 or less

• Reusable ice selling for $10 or less

Pinellas County’s Emergency Management is urging residents to begin hurricane preparations now, including finalizing their plans. In the latest eLert, residents are asked to finish stocking their survival kits, check their evacuation levels and update lists of important papers and phone numbers.

Renowned hurricane forecasters Dr. William Gray and Dr. Phillip Klotzbach with the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University are predicting a below-average season in 2014.

“Despite the quiet forecast, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them,” the forecasters said in report released April 10. “They are reminded to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much or how little activity is predicted.”

Gray and Klotzbach predict nine named storms will form in the Atlantic Basin this year and three will strengthen into hurricanes and one will become a major hurricane. They say there is a 35 percent chance that a hurricane will make landfall somewhere on the U.S. coast and a 20 percent chance one will come ashore on the east coast, including the peninsula of Florida.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2014 runs from May 25 through May 31. Visit www.n­­aa.go­v/pre­pare.

For more information on hurricane preparedness look for the link to the hurricane guide on the left-side menu at TBNwe­ekly.­com and check out the guide produced by Emergency Management at www.p­inell­ascou­nty.o­rg/em­ergen­cy/hu­rrica­negui­­m. Copies also are available at local libraries and city halls.
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