HON. RON PAUL
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2009
(Read the press release)
Madam Speaker, I rise to introduce the Evacuees Tax Relief Act of 2009, legislation providing tax relief to those forced to abandon their homes because of a natural disaster. This legislation provides a tax credit or a tax deduction, depending on the wishes of the taxpayer, of up to $5,000 for costs incurred because of a government-ordered mandatory or voluntary evacuation. Evacuees could use the credit to cover travel and lodging expenses associated with the evacuation, lost wages, property damages not otherwise compensated, and any other evacuation-related expenses. The tax credit is refundable up to the amount of income and payroll taxes a person would otherwise pay, thus ensuring working people who pay more in payroll than in income taxes are able to benefit from this tax relief. The credit is available retroactive to December of 2007, so it is available to Hurricane Ike evacuees, as well as those who evacuated because of Hurricanes Gustav and Dolly.
Just last year, the majority of my district, including my home county, was subject to mandatory evacuation because of Hurricane Ike. Therefore, I have firsthand experience with the burdens faced by those forced to uproot themselves and their families because of a natural disaster. Evacuees incur great costs in getting to safety, as well as loss from the storm damage. It can take many months, and even years, to fully recover from the devastation of a natural disaster. Given the unpredictable nature of natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornados, it is difficult for most families to adequately budget for these costs. The Evacuees Tax Relief Act helps Americans manage the fiscal costs of a natural disaster.
Madam Speaker, with the 2009 hurricane season now upon us, it is hard to think of a more timely and more compassionate tax relief proposal than one aimed at helping families cope with the costs associated with being uprooted from their homes, jobs, and communities by a natural disaster. I hope all my colleagues will show compassion for those forced to flee their homes by cosponsoring the Evacuees Tax Relief Act.