State Sen. Frank Wagner has introduced a bill with one of his home city's biggest employers in mind.
SB766 would add chain saws to the list of items eligible for purchase during Virginia's sales tax "holiday" for hurricane preparedness in May, when consumers can buy flashlights and duct tape without paying the state's 5 percent tax. Wagner's proposal specifies not just any chain saws, but gas-powered saws costing $350 or less, and chain saw accessories.
Stihl Inc., the German power-tool manufacturer with headquarters in Virginia Beach, happens to make gas-powered chain saws, many under $350. "Chain saws are a very important tool for cleanup and rescue," said Scott Tilley, Stihl's general counsel.
Stihl officials brought the idea to Wagner, Tilley said. They don't expect a big sales boost if the measure passes but hope it encourages consumers to put a chain saw in their tool shed well before a hurricane hits, he said.
Del. Ron Villanueva, who once worked for Wagner as a legislative aide, introduced a companion bill in the House.
"It makes sense to get a chain saw for hurricane preparedness," Wagner said. "If it's got a side benefit for a major employer in Virginia Beach - good."