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Lawmakers push for oil spill tax breaks

WASHINGTON — In an effort to help some of the small businesses along the Gulf coast, a bipartisan group of six lawmakers have put together a package of tax breaks for those hit hard by the oil spill.

The lawmakers outlined some of the benefits in a letter they sent to Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus and ranking minority member Sen. Chuck Grassley, urging them to consider enacting the package.

“Protecting and preserving our coastal economies requires a bold vision and decisive action,” the senators wrote.

Their proposal is intended to provide relief for struggling small businesses, create jobs and give a boost to travel and tourism in the Gulf region. Some highlights from the package: it would allow for tax credits for Gulf coast businesses that hire workers displaced by the oil spill, as well as enact a temporary program to reimburse Gulf states for revenue losses if they adopt a hotel or car rental tax holiday.

“This proposal would help create a more favorable environment for some small businesses to survive the economic hardships being caused by the oil spill,” said Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss).

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