Armed with intimate knowledge of how Iowa communities rebuilt themselves after the Flood of ’93, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley will chair a hearing Wednesday to discuss rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. Grassley, who heads the Senate Finance Committee, says they’ll hear first from New York leaders who were key in responding after the Nine-Eleven attacks. Grassley says they’ll testify about what the federal government did from the standpoint of aid to New York, in particular, about the issuing of tax credits for commercial development, tax-exempt revenue bonds and similar efforts. Grassley says the committee is also calling in officials from the Gulf Coast, including Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, to discuss what they most need following Katrina, believed to be the nation’s most expensive natural disaster. Grassley says it’s all leading up to a piece of legislation he’ll help craft that’s designed to spark commercial development, bring businesses back and the creation of jobs — all of which are “very necessary” to get people to move back to the storm-damaged communities. He says they’ll consider things like: the formation of enterprise zones and the issuing tax exempt bonds to encourage investment, in addition to the allowing of what’s called “accelerated depreciation” so small businesses can write all off all of their losses in one year. Grassley says the goal is to “build on the long term” as the President just signed legislation last week to give immediate tax relief to Katrina victims — but it’s for individuals, nothing to encourage investment. The Wednesday morning hearing in Washington D.C. is slated to begin at 9 o’clock Central time.
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