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Finance Committee, Senate Provide Tax Relief For Katrina Victims

Washington, DC â??Idaho Senator Mike Crapo joined a unanimous Senate today, providing immediate tax relief for Katrina evacuees and those living in designated disaster zones, those caring for the evacuees and those contributing to relief efforts. The tax package (S. 1696) was sent from the Senate Finance Committee on which Crapo sits. The package passed today includes the following that will benefit Idahoans involved in relief efforts: Provide tax incentives for charitable donations, including penalty-free donations from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Increased tax deduction for those who house evacuees of Katrina. Corporate and individual tax benefits for those who donate books for stocking libraries, food and clothing. Tax benefits for those who hire Katrina evacuees. â??The people in the Gulf Region need immediate aid and this tax package provides opportunities for both evacuees and those helping with relief efforts to get that aid,â?? said Crapo. â??Iâ??ve seen the eagerness and willingness to help in this relief effort from Idahoans around the state and this package will provide an additional way for them to be involved. Reports indicate that the American people have already contributed more of their own money to this relief effort than has been contributed to charity in any past disaster on our soil. This important legislation will help meet the non-cash needs that still exist.â?? The House also passed a similar relief tax package today. The two packages will now be negotiated between the two chambers and sent to President Bush. In a related matter, President Bush declared a state of emergency in Idaho to allow federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts to assist evacuees from Katrina. This will allow for reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for expenses associated with assisting victims with housing, small business, and medical assistance.