Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of the Florida Congressional Delegation, co-sponsored a bill to tax exempt the claim checks that BP pledged to reimburse to affected persons and businesses. The legislation has the strong support of Florida's fishing interests that have been slammed hard by this environmental and economic disaster in the Gulf.
Florida Keys communities and small businesses have been decimated by the triple whammy of the Great Recession, the closing of large swaths of fishing zones due to overregulation and now the Gulf oil spill. These impacted communities need relief and they need it as quickly as possible. While this bill is not a solution to all their ills, passage of it will assure that those affected keep more of the money that is rightfully theirs.
Said Ros-Lehtinen, "I truly believe it to be unfair for impacted businesses to have to pay taxes on the claims checks they receive from BP. It makes no economic sense as these businesses use the claims checks to reinvest them in their local communities whether paying bills, buying groceries, or helping meet their payroll. They are being reimbursed for their economic losses from canceled reservations due to premature panic and the wrong perception that oil has washed up on Keys beaches. Letting them keep their reimbursements is good for them and it's good for the local communities in which they reside. I urge my colleagues to support this simple yet effective measure."