Hurricane Katrina Tax Breaks

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The Senate passed nearly eight (b) billion dollars in tax breaks for Gulf Coast businesses today with an exception drawn to prohibit gambling from being subsidized by taxpayer dollars.

The package follows through on President Bush's promise to create a special business zone to rebuild commerce and replace jobs in Gulf Coast communities destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Its central benefits increase write-offs for small business investments and offer additional write-offs for other businesses purchasing equipment and new property.

It also aims to rehabilitate damaged buildings, defray the cost of cleanup and demolition and aid small timber companies. Lawmakers let individuals who experienced losses from hurricanes Rita and Wilma claim some of the same assistance already extended to those hurt by Hurricane Katrina.

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu says the assistance will "help us to help ourselves."