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Hurricane Awareness Harder Without Tax Holiday

Building awareness of Monday’s kickoff of the Atlantic Hurricane season is hard enough when the state hasn’t been struck for a decade. But this year’s lack of a tax-free holiday to promote stockpiling emergency supplies could make the job more difficult.

Last year, Floridians saved $20 million when they went to the store to by generators, batteries and other storm supplies. This year, there isn’t a sales tax holiday to get Floridians in disaster mode. Aaron Gallaher, a spokesman for the Division of Emergency Management, says his agency will do all it can.

“It’s not in place, but we are still going to work to ensure that everyone who lives, or plays in Florida is prepared for the odds of a hurricane.”

Lawmakers won’t renew the hurricane sales tax holiday next year, either. But the House will be pushing for a back to school tax holiday when the special session begins Monday, says Florida Retail Federation spokesman James Miller.

“Back to school is still alive, and we are going to be doing whatever we can on our end to help that and ensure that it passes.”

The school supply tax holiday would save shoppers up to $40 million.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.