TIA Urges Congress to Cover Hurricane Irma in Disaster Relief Bill

(Bowie, MD - 9/13/2017) – As thousands of people look to repair from the devastation left by the recent hurricanes, many businesses are left wondering how they will recover. The Tire Industry Association and members of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Coalition will lobby Congress to apply WOTC to natural disasters, that will cover powerful hurricanes like Harvey and Irma.

TIA has written to members of Congress urging them to reject restrictions to WOTC's use during disasters that have occurred in recent years, and return to the very effective Hurricane Katrina formula. The severity and extent of the present disaster on the Gulf Coast will require that every instrument of government effective in past disasters be mobilized when Congress returns.

Currently, WOTC does not include disaster victims as a target group. Disasters of the current magnitude will shut down thousands of firms, many of them permanently, leaving workers without places of employment. Allowing employers to claim WOTC for disaster victims they employ, whose principal place of abode was in the disaster area when it struck. Assisting those who have lost jobs and face uncertainty as to whether they can be employed again by their former employer is essential. People are struggling with problems of housing, transportation, and family, and critically need an income, which the WOTC incentive has been proven to provide cost-effectively. TIA strongly recommends that Congress follow the Katrina model and establish a new target group designating Hurricane Harvey victims as WOTC-eligible "disaster employees," defined as individuals whose principal place of abode was in the disaster area on the date of the disaster declaration. 

The great strength of providing recovery resources based on workers' wages is that almost all resources will be ploughed into employment in the recovery area because that is where the employers, and especially the workers and families requiring assistance are located. All employers will be encouraged to employ hurricane victims, and production and employment in the region's economy will improve as the number of firms, old and new, increases with WOTC's aid.  In an emergency of Harvey's size, anything less won't be equal to the task.

**Read TIA’s full legislative update here: Weekly Legislative Update

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About Tire Industry Association: The Tire Industry Association (TIA), with a 97-year history representing all segments of the national and international tire industry, is the leading advocate, as well as, instructor in technical training of tire service technicians. For more information, visit www.tireindustry.org or call 800-876-8372.