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Politics

Crist Enables Appliance Rebates

April 14, 2010 - 6:00pm


Starting Friday, Floridians will be able to save money while helping to save the environment and the Sunshine States sluggish economy.

At a media event Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Crist met with legislators, representatives of the Florida Retail Federation and employees of Badcock, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes and Sears to promote a rebate program on energy-efficient appliances.

From April 16 through April 25, Floridians who buy new Energy Star-approved appliances will be eligible to receive rebates up to 20 percent off the purchase. They can also receive an extra $75 if they recycle old appliances.

After buying an appliance, Florida consumers will be able to go to www.rebates.com/florida to fill out the rebate.

Items covered under the rebate agreement include refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers, air conditioning units and tankless water heaters.

Florida is relying on more than $17.5 million from the federal stimulus package to fund this rebate program.

Its a great program, said Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, who noted it will help the environment.

Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, a Wellington Democrat who was one of the chief backers of the measure, said the program "will benefit businesses as well as consumers."

It will help our retailers boost their sales," he said.

Rick McAllister, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, wholeheartedly agreed. It will create traffic, create sales, create advertising dollars and create extra employment opportunities, he said. Its the perfect stimulus.

Crist said that the rebate program was generating interest. Just yesterday, there were 9,000 hits on the Web site in one day, Crist said. The governor also noted that the program generated more than 2,100 phone calls and more than 1,000 emails.

The state is expecting the program to help 66,000 Floridians to purchase Energy Star-approved appliances, adding $62 million in sales to the economy and $4 million to the state revenue via sales taxes.

McAllister said some retailers are expecting a 10-fold increase in appliance sales due to the rebate program.

Speaking to the House Democratic Caucus earlier in the afternoon, Abruzzo said he had high hopes for the rebate program. Florida retailers should see sales like Black Friday, he said.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or (850) 727-0859.

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