DISCUS Urges Congress to Drop House Provision That Discriminates Against Liquor Stores in Hurrican Tax Relief Bill -- Calls Provision 'Another Devastating Blow to Thousands of Family Businesses'

December 7, 2005 07:00 PM
Washington, D.C. – The Distilled Spirits Council is working with key U.S. Senators from hurricane-ravaged states and others around the country to defeat a provision that passed the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday evening that excludes liquor stores, casinos and other businesses from receiving Federal hurricane tax relief. The Council characterized the provision to the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 by U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) as bad tax policy and an inexplicable blow to the region’s already devastated hospitality industry. “Many small family-run liquor stores lost everything in the hurricanes. Now, Rep. Wolf has leveled another devastating blow to thousands of family businesses by barring them from receiving hurricane tax relief,” DISCUS Government Affairs Senior Vice President Mark Gorman charged. “These states need a vital hospitality industry to drive economic recovery and job growth.” According to Gorman, Wolf’s provision would bar liquor stores, casinos, clubs and other businesses from receiving any of the proposed $7.64 billion in emergency tax relief designed to help workers and businesses hurt by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita or Wilma. These provisions include tax credits for retaining employees and paying employee relocation expenses in the disaster area, and other incentives to encourage businesses to clean up debris and rebuild in the Gulf zone. Chris Young, Director of the Louisiana Association of Beverage Alcohol Licensees (LABAL), called the Wolf proposal “one of the most anti-family proposals we have ever encountered. It is estimated that about 5,000 small businesses that sell beverage alcohol remain shuttered across southern Louisiana,” he noted. “Almost all are small, family businesses that desperately need help to recover.” “The idea that legal businesses, which pay billions annually in federal, state and local taxes, would be excluded from the benefits of disaster relief assistance is the worst kind of public policy precedent,” said Gorman. He said the Council is working with key members of the Senate and hospitality industry groups from the affected states in an effort to keep Rep. Wolf’s provision from becoming law. The bill must still pass the Senate and clear a Senate-House conference before going to President Bush for his signature. CONTACT: Public Affairs Department Telephone: 202-682-8840 SCROLLER Publication Name: Publication Author:


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