Disaster Tax Relief Approved For Hurricane Victims, But Not Flooded Louisianians

Oct 5, 2017

Congress has voted to give victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria some tax relief as they recover from the disastrous storms. But taxpayers in Louisiana who flooded in 2016 won’t get the same assistance.


Credit C-SPAN

Louisiana's Sixth District Representative Garret Graves (R) took issue with that on the House Floor.

“Explain to me the difference between a flood victim in Texas, a flood victim perhaps in Florida and one in Louisiana. Explain to me how those are any different," he said.

Graves asked Congress to approve a similar tax relief package for Louisiana flood victims earlier this year.

Governor Edwards says Congress should still consider those Louisiana taxpayers. In a statement released yesterday, Edwards said “more than 193,000 homes and businesses were damaged from a no-name storm that dropped seven trillion gallons of water over South Louisiana in three days. If that doesn’t call for some sort of tax relief for the people of Louisiana, I don’t know what does.”

The bill allows taxpayers affected by those Hurricanes to deduct more of their property damage, or make retirement accounts easier and more affordable to access.

Graves doesn’t deny the people impacted by this year’s hurricanes need that help.

“Now look, I want to be clear," he explained, "I think the hurricane victims absolutely deserve tax relief. There’s no question. As do the victims in Florida, Puerto Rico and elsewhere - the victims of Harvey, Irma and Maria."

But he said people impacted by last year’s floods in Louisiana need that same help.

“We’ve been waiting for 13 months for this exact same tax relief. Yet, the victims of the other hurricanes get it within weeks. I’d love for someone to explain or justify that to me. You can’t, you can’t do it," Graves argued.

Representatives Steve Scalise (R) and Clay Higgins (R) voted for the tax relief bill, but Louisiana Representatives Graves, Mark Abraham (R), Mike Johnson (R) and Cedric Richmond (D) opposed it.

The bill was signed by President Trump Friday.