Congress Passes Tax Breaks for Coast

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

The U.S. Senate and House passed nearly $8 billion in tax breaks for Gulf Coast businesses Friday, with an exception drawn to prohibit gambling from being subsidized by taxpayer dollars.

"This legislation creates incentives for business to reinvest and rebuild on the Mississippi Coast. It encourages businesses to maintain their payrolls and protect the jobs of hard working Mississippians who are engaged in rebuilding their lives and their communities," said Cong. Chip Pickering. "There are provisions to help students go back to school, to help families afford housing, to help communities rebuild and help the state with new bonding authority for needed debt restructuring. This measure provides more options to individuals, families and businesses and removes some of the government's tax burden from those so devastated by the storm."

The package follows through on President Bush's promise to create a special business zone to rebuild commerce and replace jobs in Gulf Coast communities destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Its central benefits increase write-offs for small business investments and offer additional write-offs for other businesses purchasing equipment and new property.

It also aims to rehabilitate damaged buildings, defray the cost of cleanup and demolition and aid small timber companies.

Lawmakers let individuals who experienced losses from hurricanes Rita and Wilma claim some of the same assistance already extended to those hurt by Hurricane Katrina.

Today the United States Congress passed the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005, an $8 billion tax relief packaged targeted to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Louisiana and hurricane affected areas. The measure is expected to be signed by President George W. Bush.

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