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April 27, 2006

... From the Office of the Governor

Contact: Russell Schweiss (850) 488-5394

Governor Bush Approves 2006 Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush today signed legislation authorizing Florida's second annual 12-day sales tax holiday for hurricane preparedness. The Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is an important component of Governor Bush's comprehensive plan to instill a "culture of preparedness" in Florida. Prepared citizens are better equipped to provide for the safety of their families, reduce damage to their homes and recover more quickly from a disaster.

"In this period of increased tropical activity, it is vital for all Floridians to prepare," said Governor Bush. "Families and businesses that prepare are safer and recover quicker than those who don't plan and don't take action."

Coinciding with National Hurricane Preparedness Week, the tax holiday begins on Sunday, May 21 and ends on the first day of the 2006 Hurricane Season, June 1 — just 35 days away. The 12-day holiday will save Floridians an estimated $41 million. Under the legislation, no state or local sales tax will be collected on hurricane preparedness items, including:

  • Flashlights and portable, self-powered light sources — $20 or less
  • Portable radios, two-way radios and weather-band radios — for $50 or less
  • Flexible waterproof sheeting (tarps) — $50 or less
  • Gas or diesel fuel containers — $25 or less
  • Batteries — $30 or less
  • Non-electrical food storage coolers — $30 or less
  • Portable generators — $1,000 or less
  • Carbon monoxide detectors — $75 or less
  • Storm shutter devices — $200 or less
  • Cell phone batteries — $60 or less

"This legislation is an incentive for Floridians to stock up on supplies, as well as a reminder to prepare for the safety of their families," said Senator Carey Baker.

"We've learned the hard way how important it is to prepare early and thoroughly for hurricane season," said Representative Ron Greenstein. "This measure will grant Floridians a tax break on much needed hurricane supplies and hopefully increase the number of people prepared for this year's hurricane season."

The Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is a key component of the hurricane preparedness, response and recovery budget recommendations made by Governor Jeb Bush and Lt. Governor Toni Jennings. The recommendations include new efforts to significantly enhance Florida's ability to prepare for hurricanes, respond quickly in the aftermath of a storm, recover from the damage and impacts to the economy and mitigate future threats to public safety and infrastructure. The $565 million package includes funding to harden county emergency operations centers, make existing homes more disaster resistant, install permanent generators in all special needs shelters, create safe public shelter for an additional 100,000 people, repair and rehabilitate homes in communities severely impacted by the 2004 and 2005 storms and raise public awareness on the critical need to prepare for hurricanes.

"All indications are that we will have another active hurricane season," said Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate. "A successful response starts well before a storm makes landfall — with families, communities and counties planning and preparing for a potential emergency."

The 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1. For more information on the 2006 season, disaster preparedness and the sales tax holiday, please visit www.myflorida.com or www.FloridaDisaster.org.

NOTE: Please see the attached Tax Information Publication from the Department of Revenue regarding the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday.