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Congressman Bobby Jindal introduces first Bill


WASHINGTON, January 27 2005

US Congressman Bobby Jindal introduced his first bill early in the 109th Congress, keeping a promise he had made to his constituency and signalling that he is already building his reputation as a pro-active legislator.

According to Jindal (Republican from Louisiana), the legislation "Disaster Prevention Protection Act of 2005" he introduced on Wednesday is part of his promise made to Louisianans that he would tackle a ruling that considers disaster grants as income in tax receipts.

Representative Jindal is the second Indian American to be elected to the US Congress. He has made known to President George W Bush's administration his support for efforts to change the social security system.

As president of the Freshmen Class of Republicans, Jindal has already chaperoned the group to a meeting with Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Discussing the bill, Jindal said "There is a terrible situation in Louisiana and across this country, which is causing financial hardship for far too many people."

"This bill will stop that. This bill will allow people to protect their homes without fear of their losing them when the tax bill comes."

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mitigation grants are given on a competitive basis to individuals or businesses who have just sustained a major disaster or whose properties have received repetitive losses resulting in insurance claims. In July 2004, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began considering these grants as income.

In a release Jindal's office noted that these grants averaging $100,000, when considered as "income", push recipients into the highest tax brackets.

"As a result the recipient is required to pay additional taxes beyond their means and often loses access to other government services, such as income-based education grants," the Congressman contended.

"This is a perfect example of a programme meant to help, but actually doing more harm than good," Jindal said. "It makes no sense to increase people's taxes when they are most vulnerable, when they are recovering from a natural disaster," he said calling it a case of a federal agency taking away with one hand what is given with another."

Louisianans have received $8 million from 2001-03.


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