Retailers urge Floridians to shop locally during hurricane season, as tax break holiday begins Saturday
Hurricane Season brings sales tax-free holidays on hurricane supplies. Image via AP.

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NOAA officials project there will be at least 17 named storms this hurricane season.

The official start to the 2024 Hurricane Season begins Saturday, and part of the ritual of living in Florida during that time is stocking up on hurricane supplies during a sales tax break. The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) is offering tips on how to best prepare for getting through what has often been dubbed as the “Mean Season.”

The peak of Hurricane Season doesn’t come until August and September. But FRF officials are advising Florida residents to begin their planning to have proper supplies in place as soon as you can and take advantage of the first Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holidays that begins Saturday and runs through June 15.

The Legislature renewed that holiday this year. Another set of tax break days is scheduled for later in the season.

“Weather during hurricane season can be unpredictable, but Floridians can rely on consistent cost savings during the Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday,” said Scott Shalley, President and CEO of the FRF. “Our local retailers stand ready to assist, ensuring you’re equipped to safeguard what matters most: Your loved ones and your home. Don’t wait; act now to protect what’s important.”

The FRF also encourages Sunshine State residents to buy those storm preparation goods locally as part of their “Find It In Florida” public awareness campaign.

This year’s Hurricane Season promises to be an active one, at least according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The ocean temperatures are already warmer than normal and that is likely to develop into an engine that creates more storms this year.

NOAA officials predict there will be 17 to 25 named tropical storms or hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean region this year before the official Hurricane Season draws to a close Nov. 30.

At least eight of those storms will develop into full hurricanes with winds of 75 mph or above, according to NOAA’s projection. Some four to seven of those hurricanes could become major storms, meaning Category 3 hurricanes or stronger.

The Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holidays allow people in the state to buy particular goods needed to get ready for a storm without paying sales taxes on those items.

The list of products that qualify for the sales tax breaks at stores over the next two weeks and the second storm preparedness tax holiday period set for Aug. 24 through Sept. 6 include:

— Portable self-powered light source selling for $40 or less.

— Certain portable self-powered, two-way or weather-band radios selling for $50 or less.

— Tarps or other flexible waterproof sheeting selling for $100 or less.

— Ground anchor systems selling for $100 or less.

— Gas or diesel fuel tanks selling for $50 or less.

— Packages of certain battery types, including rechargeable batteries: AA-cell, AAA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt or 9-volt, selling for $50 or less.

— Non-electric food storage cooler selling for $60 or less.

— Portable generators to provide light, communications or preserve food selling for $3,000 or less.

— Reusable ice selling for $20 or less.

— Portable power banks selling for $60 or less.

— Smoke detectors or smoke alarms selling at $70 or less.

— Fire extinguishers selling at $70 or less.

— Carbon monoxide detectors selling at $70 or less.

— Dry dog or cat food weighing 50 pounds or less selling at $100 or less per bag.

— Individual wet dog or cat food cans or pouches selling at $10 or less or equivalent if sold in a box or case.

— Over-the-counter pet medications with a sales price of $100 or less.

— Portable kennels or pet carriers selling at $100 or less.

— Manual can openers selling at $15 or less.

— Leashes, collars and muzzles selling at $20 or less.

— Collapsible or travel-sized food/water bowls selling at $15 or less.

— Cat litter weighing 25 pounds or less selling at $25 or less.

— Cat litter pans selling at $15 or less.

— Pet waste disposable bags selling at $15 or less.

— Pet pads selling at $15 or less.

— Hamster or rabbit substrate selling at $15 or less.

— Pet beds selling at $40 or less.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected].

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