Republicans push for tax relief for NC, SC victims of Hurricane Florence

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With the cleanup from Hurricane Florence just beginning for many residents of North and South Carolina, three congressmen want to provide storm victims with tax relief.

Rep. George Holding of Raleigh introduced the Hurricane Florence Tax Relief Act on Thursday in the U.S. House. The bill is co-sponsored by two of Holding’s fellow Republicans, Rep. David Rouzer of Johnston County and Rep. Tom Rice of Horry County in South Carolina. It’s modeled on similar legislation passed in 2017 after a series of devastating storms hit Puerto Rico and the mainland United States — Harvey, Irma and Maria.

The 2017 bill passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law within four days of introduction by Texas Rep. Kevin Brady. Brady is the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Holding and Rice are members of the committee.

“FEMA has been on the ground for days and billions of dollars in grants and assistance will be made available to individuals and communities,” Holding said in a statement. “But I have concluded that recovering from a storm of this magnitude will also require creative, outside the box solutions.”

The bill would provide an exception to the 10-percent penalty on early withdrawals from retirement plans. It would make changes to the deduction for personal casualty losses and suspend the limitations on the deductions for charitable contributions for hurricane relief this year. It would provide an employment tax credit for employers in disaster areas and create a special rule for calculating the 2018 Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

Holding’s office did not have a potential price tag for the bill.