State officials are promoting the potential for long-term savings on utility bills as they tout sales-tax breaks this weekend for shoppers who buy energy-saving and water-conserving appliances.
The discount period, which begins Friday, is the third sales-tax "holiday" offered by Florida lawmakers as part of an election-year package of tax cuts.
From Friday through Sunday, sales taxes won't be collected on the first $1,500 of the purchase price of certain Environmental Protection Agency-designated Energy Star and WaterSense products, including new refrigerators, dishwashers, ceiling fans and even light bulbs.
"You don't have to spend a lot to save, but every little bit you save on your taxes this weekend will also save on your electric and water bill in the future," said Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services spokeswoman Erin Gillespie. "People that buy the appliances can save anywhere from $1 to $100, but more than that, you'll save on your electric bill every month that you have that appliance or product in your house."
The discount period isn't anticipated to drive as many shoppers to the stores as the more popular back-to-school tax "holiday," which was held in August, or even a tax-free period in June on certain hurricane supplies.
Many of the discount items this weekend are considered bigger-ticket items purchased more out of necessity than on a whim — refrigerators, clothes washers, dishwashers, swimming pool pumps, water heaters, weather-based irrigation controllers and high-efficiency toilets.
Not everything on the list is a costly purchase, as Energy Star and WaterSense-approved products include light bulbs, air purifiers, ceiling fans, shower heads and bathroom sink faucets.
State economists, sitting as the Revenue Estimating Conference, have projected that the overall savings for shoppers this weekend could dent the revenue of state and local governments between $890,000 and $2.67 million.