During those periods, sales tax will be lifted on purchases of preparedness-related supplies and equipment including batteries and flashlights; bottled water and coolers; tarps, plastic sheeting and duct tape; smoke detectors and fire extinguishers; portable radios; cell phone chargers; first aid kits and more. Portable generators and inverters also are included. A complete list for Virginia can be found at: www.tax.virginia.gov/web_pdfs/Exempt_Products.pdf. In these recessionary times,Â Virginia is promoting the week for both its preparedness and cost value. As the Ready Virginia web site suggests:
“It’s smart to get ready for hurricane and flash flooding season, which arrives June 1st. And it’s smart to save money.Â You can do both by shopping for such products as batteries, food storage containers, generators, first aid kits, bottled water, radios and more between May 25 and 31. When you do, you won’t pay sales tax on many useful products that cost up to $60 or on generators costing $1,000 or less. That’s a savings of 5 percent.”
Ready Virginia is kicking the tax free week off with events at stores and aÂ Radio Disney partnership.Â According to the Virginia Emergency Management official Laura Southard:Â
“We are partnering with Radio Disney for hurricane season to target families with young children in the Hampton Roads and Richmond regions. (This is one demographic group that is likely to take steps to prepare.) Our effort, called Get Ready Virginia, includes a series of fun, family-oriented gameshow events. We start Monday with an event at a Wal-Mart in Richmond and another at a hardware store in Virginia Beach to kick off the sales tax holiday. Other events will be held throughout the summer and fall. Parents will be given goody bags that include Ready Virginia materials, including a blank family emergency plan that they can discuss and fill out. The campaign also includes public service announcements and 30-minute public affairs programs on the two Radio Disney stations in Virginia.”
I am a great supporter of these tax-free periods because they provide an incentive for the public to prepare and result in greater attention (particularly from retailers and the media) to the often overlooked subject of citizen preparedness. Last year, I suggested to my local assemblyman Jonathan Bing that the idea should be considered here in New York. And Bing recently introduced legislation in the state house to establish a tax-free period between the anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina and 9/11.