12 Days of Taxes: McConnell bill would make it harder for Hoosiers to rebuild lives after many natural disasters

Would have affected Hoosiers coping with 2016 tornadoes Congressman Rokita called “God’s will”

INDIANAPOLIS – Americans rebuilding their lives after many natural disasters like last year’s tornadoes in Kokomo would receive significantly less help if the Republican tax bill is enacted.

The McConnell tax bill repeals the deduction for personal casualty losses in cases where the President does not declare a federal disaster. The deduction is primarily used to allow Americans to rebuild homes and other property by claiming uninsured losses that result from fires, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. The change to the deduction will save the federal government less than $1.6 billion annually, a negligible amount in a bill that will add roughly $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.

The proposal will have an immediate impact across the nation. Nearly 100,000 Americans have been forced to evacuate their homes due to recent California wildfires and would only be able to utilize the deduction if they can assess uninsured losses in time to file their 2017 tax return. Such a quick turnaround for Americans still reassembling their lives would seem unlikely.

The loss of the deduction will resonate closer to home, as well. Had this been the policy in place, none of the Howard County residents affected by the three biggest disasters to hit the area since 2013 would have been eligible for the deduction. That includes the tornadoes which Congressman Rokita notoriously called “God’s will” which destroyed or damaged more than 1,000 houses and buildings last August. It is unclear whether Congressman Rokita believes his own constituents should have had access to the deduction following the disasters, although he voted for an even harsher version of the provision in last month’s House bill.

“Americans have always believed in supporting our neighbors in their time of greatest need, but the McConnell bill’s removal of a crucial provision for those rebuilding their lives after natural disasters is simply heartless,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “We know Congressman Rokita believes that the destruction of Hoosiers’ homes in tornadoes is God’s will—does he think it’s God’s will that they be left to fend for themselves in the aftermath? He certainly seems to believe it’s the will of the government.”

This release is part of day seven of the Indiana Democrats’ 12 Days of Taxes, a daily series highlighting the problems the McConnell tax bill would create if passed this holiday season. While the McConnell plan would raise taxes on middle class Americans to fund more tax breaks for the wealthy and major corporations, its consequences stretch across American life.

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