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Florida House mulls tax breaks for early-season storm prep


Date: January 26, 2017
Source: Florida Politics
Author:  A. G. Gancarski


How bad was Hurricane Matthew for Northeast Florida?

Here’s the take of one Jacksonville Republican, Rep.Jason Fischer.

“Last fall, Hurricane Matthew crawled up the coast of Florida, hitting Northeast Florida particularly hard. Some of my constituents lost power for almost a full week following the storm,” Fischer noted.

With that example in mind, Fischer filed a bill Thursday in the Florida House.

House Bill 555 offers Sunshine State residents an opportunity to prepare for tropical weather impacts early in the storm season, and get tax breaks in the bargain.

A tax exemption would apply between May 30 through June 5 on certain items, to ensure, in Fischer’s words, that “natural disaster preparedness is at the foanrefront of people’s minds.”

The biggest ticket items getting a tax break include portable generators, with any generator priced below $1,000 eligible for the tax exemption. The same holds true for emergency-position indicating radio beacons priced below $1,500, and external portable hard drives and storm shutters priced below $200.

Among the other savings opportunities: flashlights and lanterns priced below $20; self-powered radios priced below $75; tarps and ground anchors priced below $50; fuel tanks priced below $25; various batteries and coolers.

“This bill relieves some of the financial burden of preparing for a natural disaster. I am proud to introduce legislation that is expected to save consumers $7 million,” stated Rep. Fischer.

“This legislation encourages being prepared in advance, which could mean the difference between life and death,” Fischer added.

This bill would take effect upon being signed into law.

Among its supporters: the Florida Retail Federation.