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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

Virginia’s Preparedness Tax Holiday: Opportunity To Stimulate Public Readiness And Local Economy

April 15th, 2009 · No Comments

On Tax Day, I thought I would highlight Virginia’s second annual Hurricane Preparedness Tax Holiday which will run from May 25-31. During that week, sales tax will be lifted on purchases of preparedness-related supplies and equipment. Though the state’s Department of  Emergency Management considered last year’s week successful, I wanted to see if the agency was making any changes for this upcoming one.

Spokesperson Laura Southard says this year the Department is making a bigger effort to sell both the economic and social benefits of the holiday to the private sector — not only for retailers who sell the emergency products but also to newspapers who could use it as an advertising opportunity. “I have solicited the sales managers at all the major dailies in the state so they can pitch this great advertising opportunity to their clients. It’s win-win for the newspapers, the retail advertisers and the customers. I am not paying the papers anything; I just prompted them to use the tax holiday as an advertising incentive.  Of course, I’ve asked them to use the Ready Virginia logo and Web site, if possible, on any ads that their clients may run.”

Sales Tax Holiday

Appealing to profit motive — particularly in this economic environment — is smart. The more you can show businesses it’s in their self interest to get involved in preparedness the more attention they will give it  and in turn the more likely that their readers and customers will hear about the special week. In fact, preparedness offers the private sector way to both ‘do good and do well’. Says Southard: “Newspapers need advertising … Retailers need customers … Consumers need to save money … and it goes without saying that everyone needs to prepare for emergencies.”

So far, the state is partnering on the week with the Retail Merchants Association, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, The Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond and Kroger supermarkets. I believe this type of holiday should be implemented nationwide. (Though at present there is only one other state currently doing so, Louisiana, which is holding their second tax-free weekend at the end of the May.) Here in New York, legislation has recently been reintroduced in the State Assembly to establish a tax-free period between the anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina and 9/11.

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Tags: Preparedness Ideas · Preparedness Incentives · State Preparedness

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