Holley True Value employee Jonathan Ward fills up a shelf with a variety of tape. The Alabama Legislature recently approved a new tax-free weekend, scheduled for July 6-8, to give residents an opportunity to stock up on disaster preparedness supplies. -- Desiree Taylor

Legislature approves new tax-free holiday weekend

Published 11:51pm Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Alabama Legislature recently approved the creation of a tax-free weekend for buying disaster preparedness supplies in observance of the deadly tornadoes that struck northern Alabama last April.

Gov. Robert Bentley immediately signed the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Bill Poole, R-Northport, last Thursday, into law. In a press release last week, Bentley said the holiday will “help save lives.”

Recommended by the governor’s Tornado Action Recovery Council, the bill specifies that the tax-free weekend will be held July 6-8 and the last full weekend in February every year afterward. It waives the state’s 4 percent sales tax on such items as batteries, duct tape, weather radios, plywood, generators, portable radios, cell phone chargers, nonelectric food storage and waterproof sheeting to name a few.

Cities and counties can choose to waive their local sales taxes the same weekend if they wish.

Holley True Value manager Alden Holley said his store plans to participate in the tax-free weekend. The tax on batteries and duct tape, Holley said, will be waived.

“Whatever corresponds to what the Legislature is doing with the tax-free weekend, we’ll do,” he said.

Holley employee Jonathan Ward said being prepared for hazardous weather, such as tornadoes is important.

“Tornadoes aren’t nothing to play with,” Ward said. “Being ready is pretty serious.”

Alabama Emergency Management Agency director Art Faulkner said the best way residents of the state can remember the hundreds dead from the April 27 tornadoes, is to make sure they’re prepared.

Legislative fiscal experts predict the bill will reduce the state’s sales tax collections by $2 million annually. That would mean $50 million in sales. State revenue commissioner Julie Magee said that is probably a conservative estimate based on sales during the state’s tax-free weekend for school supplies.

States such as Louisiana, Florida and Virginia already have hurricane preparedness sale tax weekends.

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