Take advantage of no sales tax holiday

Published 8:32pm Thursday, July 5, 2012

Beginning today, the state of Alabama will waive its 4 percent sales tax on certain severe weather preparedness items to help residents prepare for future storms and natural disasters.

It goes without saying that everyone in town should make a trip out sometime over the next three days to stock up on batteries, lanterns, first-aid kits, generators and more to ensure their safety, but if you’re looking for more of a reason, just turn on the news.

There are still thousands of people without power in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere following the June 29 derecho, a stretch of violent thunderstorms producing winds as high as 91 mph through more than 700 miles of the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions.

What’s especially scary about the storm system is that, as of 24 hours prior to its strike, there was very little indication that it even existed. The thought of something that violent just popping up out of the blue and destroying thousands of homes and businesses, leaving more than 5 million residents without power and killing at least 22 people, as The Washington Post reports, is terrifying.

Still not concerned? Alabama has had its fair share of bad weather these past few years, and, even locally, the thunderstorm that came through on July 4 took out trees and caused (minimal) damage citywide. If the derecho and Wednesday’s storm was any kind of sign for the season ahead, we’re in for a stormy summer.

And although some financial experts are calculating a loss of somewhere around $2 million in sales taxes of the three-day period, the fact the state is encouraging its people to buy weather radios and other emergency preparedness items is outstanding. This sales tax holiday will, undoubtedly, save lives.

The holiday, which was a key recommendation of Gov. Robert Bentley’s Tornado Recovery Action Council, a group appointed following the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak, is the perfect opportunity for people to assemble a ready-kit in case of a unexpected, or even expected, storm.

Speaking from personal experience, when a storm hits, it’s already too late to begin rummaging through your belongings to find a flashlight, band-aid or anything else necessary for your survival.

So go out this weekend, stock up on safety supplies and sleep peacefully this hurricane season knowing that you and your family are prepared for the unexpected.

The tax free holiday begins Friday, July 6 at 12:01 a.m. and ends on Sunday, July 8 at midnight.

You can find me at Walmart at the stroke of 12:01 a.m. in the battery aisle, purchasing duct tape, Tarpaulin, portable self-powered lights, a battery-powered radio, emergency glow sticks  and even some canned food. You should come and join me.

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