WASHINGTON – The approval of a provision to extend tax incentives included in the 2005 GO Zone legislation represents a huge victory for Gulf Coast residents wanting to rebuild, U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran said today. The provision, initially offered as an amendment by Sen. Wicker and cosponsored by Sen. Cochran, was approved today as part of a larger amendment offered by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) to housing assistance legislation being debated in the Senate. The full legislation, which now includes the GO Zone extension, is expected to be voted on next week.
“This represents a giant step forward for those along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast who want to rebuild,” Sen. Wicker said. “By extending GO Zone provisions, we’re allowing individuals to take advantage of the construction incentives included in the original legislation. This should help thousands of people still struggling two and a half years after the storm to rebuild their lives.”
Sen. Cochran added: "The unprecedented level of destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina left the Mississippi Gulf Coast in such disarray that it was difficult for many businesses to begin the process of rebuilding. In many cases, the paperwork and application process required by the government prevented those who wished to rebuild from taking advantage of federal assistance. This extension to the GO Zone legislation that was approved shortly after the hurricanes of 2005 will encourage investment in businesses, public facilities, and low income housing. Mississippi has come a long way since Hurricane Katrina, but there is still considerable rebuilding to be done."
Following Hurricane Katrina, Congress responded by passing the GO Zone legislation, an incentive package to stimulate recovery along the Gulf Coast. Currently, the commencement date for construction eligible for the bonus depreciation portion of the GO Zone is December 31, 2007. Environmental and bureaucratic delays made it impossible for many who want to rebuild to begin doing so by the December 31, 2007, deadline. This provision would drop that date to allow those still wanting to rebuild to take advantage of the GO Zone legislation’s incentives.