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Blunt co-sponsors disaster tax relief bill

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U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has co-sponsored legislation that would provide tax relief to aid recovery in Missouri disaster areas.

The bill, titled The Southeastern Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2011, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. The legislation would provide tax benefits to Missouri in Joplin, where an EF-5 tornado hit May 22, and in southeast Missouri, where flooding hit several areas, according to a news release from Blunt's office.

“Just as we saw after Hurricane Katrina, the critical tax relief included in this bill will help Missouri families, farmers, and job creators clean up and rebuild in the aftermath of recent floods and tornadoes,” Blunt said in the release. “I’m proud to join my colleagues to co-sponsor this important legislation, which will help Missourians and other Americans move forward.”

U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.; Mark Pryor, D-Ark; John Boozman, R-Ark.; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; Kay Hagan, D-N.C.; and James Inhofe, R-Okla, also co-sponsored the bill.

Tax provisions included in the legislation:
  • Penalty-free withdrawals from retirement plans, which waives the 10 percent penalty tax for early withdrawals. The total amount of penalty-free withdrawals individuals would be able to receive from plans, annuities or individual retirement accounts is $100,000.
  • Current law states that casualty losses from natural disasters are deductible by taxpayers to the extent that the losses exceed 10 percent of the individuals' adjusted gross income and a $100 floor. The legislation proposes eliminating both.
  • The bill would provide the authority for state and local governments in disaster areas to issue private activity bonds to increase private investment. The amount of tax-exempt bonds would be based on the state's population in the disaster area multiplied by $1,000. The bonds could be used for acquisition, construction and renovation of nonresidential property, low-income rental housing, low-income single-family residential housing and public utility property.
  • The legislation proposes a 40 percent tax credit to small businesses with fewer than 200 employees who continue to pay workers while the business is inoperable.
  • Low-income housing credit, allowing states to receive additional housing credit allocations through 2013 of $8 per person in disaster areas.
Benefits included within the legislation would be available to individuals and businesses located in declared disaster areas and are eligible for individual assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for storms between April 13 and June 7. Other states eligible for assistance would be Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee, the release said.

The bill is offset by rescinding unobligated federal spending and would not increase the federal debt figure, the release said.[[In-content Ad]]


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