Vote Notes: H.R.3823, The Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act (Again)
Sometimes, an occasional “I told you so” makes sense….
Such is the case with the Federal Aviation Administration/disaster tax relief bill that came up on Monday….
I voted against it and, at that time, said it was sure to come back up. Indeed, it did here just two days later, as we voted on it yesterday.
The bill unfortunately got worse.
The discrimination in the way that it pitted some storm victims against others was made worse, as the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico were added for extended tax benefits, while a host of other states were still left out.
At some point, we need to go beyond reacting to the latest emergency and think about the ways in which we treat storms, wildfires, and other natural disasters - so that we treat people with the same level of damage to their house...the same. We also need to move away from treating storms and tornados and wildfires as complete emergencies. Doing so means that they are treated differently than other spending, and this ballons our nation's debt and accompanying deficits. They are not surprises. We know for certain that in a country as big as ours we will be hit with some number of storms, tornadoes, and floods. We don't know when or where exactly, but we know they are coming.
On the category of equal treatment, I want you to stop and think about that for a moment. I don’t know of a person that doesn’t feel for the people of Puerto Rico; it’s become none other than a humanitarian crisis. But these sort of crisis events are not the events that fit with tax relief that may come a year or six months down the road. Immediate aid is needed in Puerto Rico and will be given, but the availability of tax credits in the rebuilding process is something that ought to be available to all Americans as they rebuild from flood or storm damage.
In any case, I voted against this bill again. This time, it passed, but what I’m told is that the flood insurance provisions that I was concerned about (given its impact on the debt and deficit) will be stripped out in the Senate, and it’s the FAA portion that will move forward, as it indeed comes back from the Senate.
If you didn’t catch what I said on the post two days ago in the wake of the first vote, I’ve shared it here.