In the market for a generator? Buy it now.
Portable generators and other storm supplies are sales tax free today through June 8 to encourage Floridians to prepare for the 2014 hurricane season, which starts Sunday and runs through Nov. 30.
A slower-than-usual hurricane season is expected this year, but federal forecasters and local officials warn that even one storm can prove devastating and advise residents to take precautions. Eight to 13 named tropical storms and three to six hurricanes are forecast.
Approved by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this month, the nine-day sales tax holiday is the first of its kind since 2007. Others were in 2005 and 2006 after busy hurricane years that caused billions in damage statewide. Local retailers have stocked shelves with the most common storm supplies.
"Many Floridians have learned the hard way that you shouldn't wait until you're in the path of a hurricane to stock your emergency kit,'' said Rick McAllister, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "The sales tax holiday is great way for retailers to help raise awareness of the need to be prepared, while delivering tax savings for our residents.''
Officials have estimated the hurricane sales tax holiday will save Floridians about $2.9 million.
The hurricane sales tax holiday is the first of three state tax holidays scheduled this year. Back-to-school items, from clothes to school supplies to personal computers, will be tax free Aug. 1-3. Energy- and water-efficient appliances costing $1,500 or less will be tax free Sept. 19-21.
Here are some of the qualifying storm supplies:
Portable generators for $750 or less
Reusable ice packs for $10 or less
Battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, tiki torches and candles for $20 or less.
Gas or diesel fuel containers for $25 or less.
Batteries, coolers and ice chests for $30 or less.
Tarps, tie-down kits, bungee cords and radios for $50 or less.