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This page contains a single entry by Westley Annis published on March 11, 2008 9:33 PM.

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Works closely with Finance Chairman Max Baucus to include measure in critical tax relief amendment up for vote Thursday.

WASHINGTON - United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., today announced that tax relief for Louisiana Road Home rebuilding grant recipients is part of a key budget amendment to be voted upon Thursday.

The measure rights an unfair circumstance where homeowners who claimed a casualty loss deduction following the 2005 hurricanes are now required to pay the money back to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if they also received a Road Home rebuilding grant. Congress had passed legislation immediately following the hurricanes easing restrictions on such deductions. However, the grants have elevated many homeowners into higher tax brackets, resulting in tax burdens far greater than any savings received after the storms.

"Congress smartly changed the law to put money in homeowners' pockets when they needed it most," said Sen. Landrieu, who has also introduced standalone legislation addressing the issue and repeatedly urged the IRS to take administrative action. "But to now tax rebuilding and make homeowners pay a premium for rightly taking the government up on its offer - that goes entirely against the principles we were fighting for.

"This amendment reflects the Senate's intent to set this right. I thank Chairman Baucus for his leadership and working with me to ensure that hurricane-affected Louisianians will be able to rebuild without the impediment of unfair taxes."

"Days after Hurricane Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, we got the Senate moving on a number of proposals to help victims deal with the aftermath," Sen. Baucus said. "Today, the survivors of Katrina and Rita still need our help. This proposal will ensure that financial assistance for Gulf Coast residents doesn't come with a tax penalty that just might sink them again."

The Baucus amendment, introduced today and expected to be voted on by the full Senate this Thursday, permanently extends important tax cuts for working families, including a tax credit provided for each child in a family, relief from the joint-filing penalty paid by America's married couples and the increased adoption tax credit.

Baucus's amendment also provides several billion dollars in fully paid-for tax relief to members of America's military, including a provision allowing combat pay to count toward eligibility for the earned income tax credit - a refundable federal income tax credit that puts cash in the hands of low-income working individuals and families.

The amendment provides a tax cut Sen. Landrieu has long supported to small business that continue paying some salary to members of the National Guard and Reserve who are called to duty. It also would allow active duty troops to withdraw from their retirement plans with two years to replace it without penalty.

Additionally, Baucus's amendment allows millions more Americans to deduct property taxes on their Federal returns and provides a permanent extension of reductions to the estate tax.


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