updated 4/27/2006 3:39:49 PM ET 2006-04-27T19:39:49

Florida is giving its shoppers a 12-day break this spring from sales taxes on flashlights, generators and other items they might need for the coming hurricane season.

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Gov. Jeb Bush signed legislation Thursday meant to encourage people to prepare early for what forecasters predict will be a stormy summer and fall.

The tax break period runs from May 21 to the start of hurricane season June 1, and includes tax breaks on both the small items, such as batteries and radios, and the bigger ones, including generators up to $1,000 and window protection up to $200.

It is expected to cost the state $34 million in lost tax revenue and cost local governments about $7 million.

The 2005 hurricane season was the country's most destructive in recorded history, with 27 named storms and 14 hurricanes, including Katrina, which devastated Louisiana and Mississippi and killed more than 1,300 people.

Hurricane forecaster William Gray has predicted nine hurricanes in the 2006 season, at least five of them intense.

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