A bill whichÂ wouldÂ create a â€˜tax holidayâ€™ for preparedness supplies including â€œGo-Bagsâ€, which was suggested by this blog, is now under consideration by the New York State Legislature. I would like readers around the U.S. to consider asking their elected officials about introducing similar legislation in their states.
Under the New York bill, citizens would be able toÂ buy emergency supplies without paying state salesÂ tax betweenÂ September 1st-11th and purchase pre-made â€œGo-Bagsâ€Â tax free throughout the month. The billÂ would also declareÂ September as â€œEmergency Preparedness Monthâ€ in New York. It was originally introduced by New York State Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing asÂ Bill A00783.
I had met with Assemblyman Bingâ€™s staff to discuss emergency preparedness in his Manhattan district (where I live) as well as the State as a whole. I recommended that aÂ tax free holiday on emergency supplies, which is being tried successfully by a couple states to increase public interest and action on preparedness, would be good for the Empire State. As Bing has long been involved in the issues of emergency preparedness and response, heÂ thought aÂ tax free period could have a significant impact on citizen preparedness, andÂ decided to introduceÂ legislation.
According to the proposed legislation, the tax-freeÂ period for supplies would run from September 1-September 11 commemorating theÂ time between the anniversaries between Hurricane Katrina and 9/11. â€œGo-Bagsâ€ would be exempt all month but onlyÂ if they met certain minimum requirements and were sold for $75 or less. Some of the individual emergency items would have similar price restrictions.
StoringÂ supplies are just one step in becoming prepared, but getting people to take thatÂ initial step isÂ crucial. In addition, a special tax holidayÂ makes it more likely a) private businesses will add their marketing expertise and capacity to the preparedness effort andÂ b) the media will provide coverage of the issue.Â Officials in Virginia and Florida, both of which recently implemented this idea, say results have been positive.
TheÂ billÂ has been introduced in the Assembly with twenty other sponsors as well as in the Senate. New Yorkers shouldÂ contact your local legislators to encourage them to supportÂ the legislation. Those in other states should ask their elected officials to consider the idea.