Lawmakers look to expand tax breaks for Sandy victims

Taking a page from Congress’ response to Hurricane  Katrina, House members from states damaged during
Superstorm Sandy introduced a bill Thursday that would cut federal taxes for the storm’s victims.

Among other things, the bill would allow victims of the storm to take money out of their tax-deferred retirement accounts without penalty, waive limitations on the deductibility of losses, and give tax breaks to companies that invest in the disaster area.

“This is really important” said Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, at a press conference to unveil the legislation.

Larson noted that lawmakers from Sandy-hit Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey have voted repeatedly to help other states suffering disasters and urged lawmakers from other parts of the nation to return the favor.

But Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., a member of the “Tri-State Caucus” promoting the bill, said approval of the legislation was “not an automatic.”

The tax breaks and increased credits and deductions are modeled after legislation approved to help Hurricane Katrina’s victims.