Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 837 (HB 837) into law in order to establish an extension and codify a specialized, state-funded program aimed at mitigating damages caused by hurricanes.
The passed legislation extends the Mitigation Program for another ten years and annually appropriates $10 million from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund to the Florida Division of Emergency Management. It revises the use of funds to include the construction of public hurricane shelters in addition to retrofitting existing ones, provides local government support to improve the wind resistance of homes, and dedicates funds towards hurricane research at Florida International University.
The program began as an active response to the devastation brought by Hurricane Andrew, specifically to the insurance market in the State of Florida.
“HB 837 is a crucial policy initiative that funds and extends Florida’s Hurricane Loss Mitigation Program,” said bill sponsor Rep. Matt Willhite. “In addition to funding the HLMP for another ten years, an additional allocation of $7 million in non-recurring funds was appropriated towards the Mobile Home Tie-Down Program to reduce the approximately 122 communities on the waitlist. With an affordable housing crisis looming over the entire state, I am proud that these funds will help inspect and improve tie-downs for the safety of our residents.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an “above-normal” 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, with 14-21 named storms expected, NBC Miami reports. Of those named storms, six to ten are expected to be hurricanes and three to six could be major hurricanes, according to NOAA administrator Dr. Rick Spinrad.
Florida’s Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday kicks off this weekend, giving Floridians a chance to save money and stock up on crucial supplies ahead of the 2022 hurricane season.
The annual sales tax holiday begins on Saturday, May 28, and runs through Friday, June 10. Over the next two weeks, Floridians can shop for eligible disaster preparedness items with no tax due. Additionally, for the first time, Floridians will also be able to purchase supplies, such as food, leashes, collars, and kennels for their pets during the sales tax holiday.
Other qualifying disaster preparedness supplies include flashlights, batteries, weather radios, tarps, and generators costing $1,000 or less.
Floridians are expected to save $25.6 million on the purchase of tax-free items. The new forecast is more than double compared to the $10.5 million Floridians saved during the 2021 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday.
“Preparing for hurricanes and other natural disasters can be costly, especially with ongoing inflation continuing to impact our nation,” said DeSantis “This year, the Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday has been extended to a full two weeks to ensure Floridians are receiving the maximum amount of savings and have enough time to prepare for hurricane season.”