Sales tax is being waived on emergency supplies this weekend
by Laura Camper
lcamper@annistonstar.com
Jul 07, 2012 | 3382 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Friday at Ace Hardware in Oxford, Donnie Harbin stocks up on kits he might need in an emergency. A sales tax holiday on emergency preparedness supplies began Friday and lasts through Sunday night. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
Friday at Ace Hardware in Oxford, Donnie Harbin stocks up on kits he might need in an emergency. A sales tax holiday on emergency preparedness supplies began Friday and lasts through Sunday night. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
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The state’s first sales tax holiday for severe weather preparedness began Friday, giving residents a chance to stock up on some emergency supplies and save the 10 percent sales tax.

Both Oxford and Anniston stores are participating in the sales tax holiday and some retailers are trying to pull people in by highlighting the tax-free items.

Bill Newman, president of Oxford Ace Hardware, said he tried to beef up the store’s inventory to prepare for the weekend’s sales.

“That is a 10 percent savings and that is significant to most people,” he said. “I do expect increased traffic on that.”

Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency director Jonathan Gaddy said the weekend can be a good time to think about preparing for emergencies.

“We always encourage folks to have enough supplies on hand to take them through a 72-hour period without electricity,” he said. “It’s important to have that stuff on hand.”

Gaddy said while the tax exemption extends to things like portable generators and construction supplies, some of the most important things are those that can help a family stay self-sufficient in an emergency, including a first aid kit, cooler, flashlight, batteries, ice packs, a non-electric can opener along with a supply of food, water and any prescription medicines.

Some other equipment, such as weather radios, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, are also on the list, and it could be a good time to update them or get one if you don’t currently have it, Gaddy said.

Smoke detectors, for instance, should be updated every eight years and many homes don’t have enough of them. There should be a detector in every sleeping area and at least one on every floor, he said.

Having some of the construction supplies, such as tarps, plywood or bungee cords to hold the tarps down, can be useful as well, Gaddy said.

“On the more construction-type supplies, it’s nice to have those on hand, not just in case you have damage to your own home but to help out in the community,” Gaddy said.

Newman said his own emergency stash is stocked with a first aid kit, flashlight batteries, tarps and tie-downs, coolers and extra water.

“It’s important because you just never know,” he said. “It’s been our experience around here, when everybody wants them, it’s hard to procure some of those things.”

The sales tax holiday lasts through Sunday night, ending when the clock strikes midnight.

Shoppers can also make a single purchase of a portable generator up to $1,000 tax-free.

Star staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545.
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