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Rep. Rick Rand, D-Bedford, joined House and Senate leaders and members in announcing legislation that would assist owners of buildings damaged in the March 2 tornadoes with tax relief. The bill would also help schools and staff suffering with potential loss of funds due to absences caused by the disaster.
The bill has bipartisan support as demonstrated by the other members who helped announce the legislation including Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, Rep. John Will Stacy, D-West Liberty, Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, Sen. Tom Jensen, R-London, and Rep. Hubert Collins, D-Wittensville .
Under the proposal, building owners in Trimble and all 21 Kentucky counties declared disaster areas by the president, could recover the sales tax paid on their building materials to repair or replace any structure damaged in the disaster.
The buildings must be repaired or rebuilt in the county in which it was damaged.
The owners would send all sales receipts to the Department of Revenue along with an information sharing document from their contractor – if one was used - verifying the purchase of materials. In addition, owners would submit documentation from either FEMA or an insurance company authenticating that the work was performed on a home or building damaged from the March 2nd event within the disaster areas.
The Department of Revenue, after processing the information, would issue a check refunding the sales tax to the building owner.
“This measure will encourage our people to rebuild in their communities and help restore economic vitality to devastated areas,” said Rep. Rand. “Providing a tax refund to building owners will help kick start our reconstruction efforts and will be a great motivation to people still struggling with the realities of the devastation.”
“This is a real-world solution that would quickly help those most in need,” said Rep. Stumbo. “I cannot think of a better way to help these communities get back on their feet.”
Owners can submit receipts for refunds to the department for three years, or until March 2, 2015.
“While in session, the legislature has an opportunity to help communities rebuild and give them some relief from the costs as well as an incentive to stay in their home counties,” said Rep. Rand. “We believe this legislation will help the thousands of people begin that process more quickly.”
The bill also contained provisions for schools closed because of tornados.
House Bill 165 passed by a vote of 96-0 and is now at the Senate for consideration.