From The Birmingham News:
We know all too well that deadly storms in Alabama don’t take a holiday.
While Alabama’s worst months for tornadoes are April followed by March, the other top months, in order, are November, May, February and December, according to the National Weather Service. And in January, at least 11 tornadoes swept through the state, including one that killed two people in Jefferson County.
On Feb. 14, the timing — and time — were right for Gov. Robert Bentley to announce Severe Weather Preparedness Week. The goal is to spur the public to be prepared before the next severe weather hits. ...
Those ways of being better prepared for storms are part of 20 common-sense recommendations from the tornado council that need to be put in place as quickly as possible. Doing all that is a daunting task, especially given the disastrous shape of state budgets.
Despite that, Bentley is pushing a sales-tax holiday on storm-related supplies. The once-a-year holiday would offer a break on the state’s 4 percent sales tax for weather radios, generators, flashlights, first-aid kits and other supplies needed for weather disasters.
Bentley said the holiday would be similar to the state's tax-free holiday in August on back-to-school items such as books, computers, clothes and supplies. A bill for the storm-related holiday has not yet been introduced in the Legislature.
One difference between the two holidays could be the effect they have on state tax collections. State officials have maintained the back-to-school sales-tax holiday has not hurt state coffers. In four of the first five years, sales tax collections for the month of August actually increased over the previous year as shoppers made up the difference in lost sales tax by buying nonexempt items.
That hasn't been the experience in Louisiana with its state sales-tax break on hurricane preparedness items. Louisiana's two-day holiday exempts purchases of up to $1,500, and the Louisiana Legislative Fiscal Office estimated a loss of revenue of about $2 million per year. Louisiana also has a 4 percent state sales tax, and about 250,000 fewer people than Alabama, according to census figures. ...
A sales-tax holiday isn’t great tax policy, but in this case, with lives at stake, it is an investment worth making.
From The Birmingham News:
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Dear Class of 2014: Live fast but drive slower
Embrace being young and precocious, filled with hope and exuberance. Celebrate your triumphs but be even prouder of your rebounds. Reflect on your accomplishments but use your diploma as a springboard rather than treading water.
A community torn asunder
We are heartened by the outpouring of help that has come in from outside our community from organizations, agencies, governments and religious groups.
In praise of sunshine
... imagine our surprise and delight when three members of a local governing body stepped up last month and took measures to make more of their inner workings public record.
Wishing a joyous and happy Easter
And it’s fitting Easter is celebrated in the spring, which is a season of rebirth for humans, flora and fauna.
Soccer rival 'plays it forward' to Tanner High
The idea of “paying it forward” is an ages-old concept when someone is the beneficiary of a good deed repays it to someone else.
Public investment in private sector worth the price
The economic good news continues for Athens.
A lack of leadership or usual politics?
Is this politics as usual? We don’t mean to seem cynical but the timing is suspect.
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