Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 28, 2014

Sales tax holiday: Save now in Virginia

— — While we don’t necessarily associate the coalfields of Southwest Virginia with hurricanes, area residents can still benefit from Virginia’s ongoing Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday.

The sales tax holiday, which began on Sunday, continues through May 31. As part of the special week designated by the Virginia General Assembly, the retail sales tax will not be collected at participating stores through Saturday selling certain items in the Commonwealth designated for hurricane preparedness.

This includes batteries, bottled water, flashlights, first-aid kits and even big-ticket items such as generators priced at $1,000 or less. In another words, it’s a great time to save while stocking up on emergency supplies right here at the state line.

The six-month hurricane season begins on June 1. U.S. government forecasters are predicting between three to six hurricanes this year. And while the odds of an actual hurricane reaching the scenic mountains of Southwest Virginia are in reality slim — it can still happen. Many long-time area residents still remember when the remnants of Hurricane Hugo slammed our region back in 1989 toppling trees and power lines, and leaving thousands without electricity. Hurricane season also can cause flooding here in the mountains — something we also have seen in year’s past.

Keeping that in mind, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has recognized this week as Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week in the Commonwealth of Virginia. McAuliffe says it is very common for Virginia to experience flooding during hurricane season. And he is correctly encouraging all individuals and families to have an emergency kit of supplies on hand, starting with three days of bottled water and non-perishable food and a battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio with extra batteries to hear emergency information in the event of an actual disaster. Other items families also should have ready in the event of an emergency are flashlights and extra batteries, a first aid kit and an extra supply of prescription medicines.

All of those items — with the exception of the prescription medicine of course — can be purchased now at local Virginia-side stores tax free. Please take advantage of the sales tax holiday, and take steps now to prepare for the next disaster — whenever it may occur.

This is the time to stock up on emergency supplies and other goods that can be used not only during hurricane season, but year round.

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