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Hurricane 2018: Get ready with the sales tax holiday, June 1-7

To stay informed this hurricane season, go to www.tbo.com/hurricane-guide/ [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via The New York Times]
Published May 9, 2018

Need to replace the batteries used during last year's storm season? Discover a generator would have come in handy after Hurricane Irma knocked out power throughout most of Tampa Bay?

HURRICANE GUIDE: Emergency information, tracking map and storm resources

Then circle the first week in June on the calendar. That's the annual sales tax holiday on hurricane preparedness supplies.

The state will waive the sales tax on many items needed during hurricane season June 1-7.

Exempted items include: flashlights under $20; radios under $50; waterproof sheeting under $50; ground anchor system under $50; gas tank under $25; batteries under $30; coolers under $30; portable generators under $750; and reusable ice under $10.

At seven days, the sales tax holiday is more than twice as long as it was last year. The extension was intended to give people more time to stock up on supplies after a very active 2017 storm season.

TAMPA BAY TIMES 2018 HURRICANE GUIDE: LESSONS FROM IRMA

CHARLIE FRAGO: How to (barely) survive a week without power

COLLEEN WRIGHT: I took shelter from Irma. Here's what I learned.

WAVENEY ANN MOORE: How I took care of my mother during Irma

Still, it's not nearly as long as Gov. Rick Scott proposed and many lawmakers had hoped.

In his budget, Scott called for three week-long sales tax holidays scheduled throughout the summer, at a projected cost of $14.8 million. At one point during the legislative session, a Senate committee approved two separate exemption periods in June and July.

But in the wake of the February mass shooting at a Parkland high school, lawmakers made school security a priority, and money initially earmarked for tax cuts instead helped pay for proposals to harden schools.

State Rep. Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the size of the tax cuts had to be reduced to respond to the shootings.

"We did the best we could with available dollars," Renner said in March. "Our priorities changed ... and that's absolutely appropriate."

Lawmakers ultimately settled on a one-week sales tax holiday for hurricane provisions that Scott signed into law on March 26.

That law also included a sales tax holiday on school supplies Aug. 3-5.

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