Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Starting Monday, you have a chance to not only save money, but protect yourself and your family.
It's the hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday. Tax exemptions begin May 25 and go through May 31.
The list is long and includes everything you may need from batteries to bottled water. It's the second year in a row the state is using the tax holiday to motivate Virginians to prepare for the hurricane season that starts June 1.
The Red Cross says preparedness is a very difficult message to get people to understand, but storms do happen here. Torrential rain, damaging winds and devastating floods - they're not unheard of here in the commonwealth. In fact, since 2003, Virginia has seen 49 fatalities and more than $2 billion in damage. Emergency official Bill Harrison says a little prep now can save a lot of pain later.
"Pretend that we're going camping for three days. And whatever you need to sustain you with no electricity and no water or other utilities, that's what we need to pull together," said Harrison.
Most of those things will be exempt from the five percent state sales tax this week: bottled water, batteries, flashlights, tarps, rope, duct tape and carbon monoxide detectors. Those are just some of the items, under $60, that are tax exempt. If you fear being without power for days at a time, generators under $1000 are also tax free.
While most people are wondering whether the rain will ruin their Memorial Day BBQs, emergency officials are hoping to shift that line of thinking with the sales tax holiday they hope will motivate Richmonders to prepare now.
The Red Cross says that sense of urgency comes from one simple fact:
"It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when that disaster is going to strike."