We got a notice in the mail from the Florida Department of Revenue that there will be a one week sales tax holiday, October 5th through October 11th, on "Energy Star" certified appliances.

The exemption covers individual purchase (not for business use) of dishwashers, clothes washers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs, dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats, or refrigerators costing $1500 or less.

At first this sounded like a "Home Depot/Appliance Manufacturer Subsidy Act", so I looked into it further to see what it was all about.

It turns out the Energy Star sales tax holiday is part of the energy bill passed by the Florida Legislature in May of this year:

The sweeping legislation establishes the nine-member Florida Energy Commission, provides matching grants to stimulate economic development, designates Energy Efficient Week with a sales tax holiday on energy-efficient appliances and other products, and establishes the Renewable Energy Technologies Grants program to encourage the purchase of photovoltaic and solar thermal systems.

The bill also provides tax exemptions for equipment, machinery, and other materials for alternative energy technologies, creates a renewable energy technologies investment tax credit, and establishes tax credits to encourage development and expansion of facilities that produce renewable energy in Florida.

The bill amends the statutory requirements for review of the 10-year site plans for electrical power plants submitted by utilities, provides for a study of Florida's electric transmission grid by the Public Service Commission, and designates the Department of Environmental Protection to administer a water quality improvement grant program.

Additionally, the bill addresses hardening of infrastructure to ensure the reliable provision of electrical service, revamps the requirements and procedures for electrical power plant siting-including nuclear-and amends the electric transmission line siting process.

The bill also requires a report by the Department of Environmental Protection detailing state government's leadership by example in energy conservation and energy efficiency. The provisions of Senate Bill 888 move Florida towards energy independence.

While it's unlikely to lead to Florida's complete energy independence, and there are concerns about some parts of the bill, at least it's something.

It seems more and more states are taking the lead on issues being ignored by the federal government, similar to California's investment in biotechnology R&D or the State of New York (along with North Carolina and others) cracking down on regional polluters.

Unfortunately, only states with huge economies such as Florida and California and New York have the financial wherewithal for such policies. Wouldn't it be great if the federal government took a leadership role in addressing these challenges?