Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves files legislation aimed at providing financial relief to 2016 flood victims. Graves says even after Congress appropriated billions of dollars for flood recovery, there are thousands and thousands of flood victims who are far from whole following the floods.
“We introduced tax legislation to help give folks a break on taxes for a lot of the damages and unmet needs that they still have,” Graves said.
Graves says he’s spoken with many flood victims who had to tap their retirement savings to rebuild their homes or replace lost items. He says his bill also provides some financial relief for extra costs associated with drawing from retirement savings prematurely.
“Under the tax code those early withdrawals, meaning a withdrawal before your retirement age are taxed or penalized. So our bill would also provide some relief from that additional penalty,” Graves said.
The bill would help flood victims from both the March and August floods, as well as those impacted by the February tornado outbreak. Congress has appropriated $2 billion for flood recovery so far, and Governor Edwards is seeking an additional $1 billion in federal aid. But Graves says for many that still won’t be enough.
“Most of the people we’re talking to indicated that they still have a number of unmet needs and still trying to recover. So this is really designed to help get people back on their feet as quickly as we can,” Graves said.
The legislation has bi-partisan support from the entire Louisiana congressional delegation.