There aren't many Democrats in the Senate I have any respect for, but Max Baucus, ranking member of the Finance Committee is one of them. Here are his proposals for tax relief for Katrina victims (Subscription Link):
• To assist homeowners who take in Katrina victims. Under this proposal, taxpayers would receive half a dependency deduction for each Katrina victim they house for at least 90 days during the tax year. Being claimed as dependent would not affect the victim’s ability, however, to claim their own personal exemptions or dependent exemptions for their children.
• Education tax relief: Room and board, tuition, books and fees provided to students displaced by Katrina will not be included in taxable income.
• Extending WOTC eligibility to Katrina victims. Under the work opportunity tax credit (WOTC), employers can claim a tax credit against wages paid to new workers that face barriers to employment such as ex-felons, welfare recipients, high-risk youth, and veterans. This proposal would add potential workers displaced due to the hurricane to the WOTC eligible list, easing the search for employment. The credit maximum is $2,400 (40 percent of first year wages up to $6,000, or 25 percent of wages if less than 400 hours worked.)
• A payroll maintenance tax credit: Under this proposal, businesses with fewer than 50 employees would be eligible for a 50 percent tax credit to continue paying employees even though the business cannot operate during the hurricane rebuilding period. The credit would max out at $12,000.
He's got some interesting ideas here. I hope some of them pay off.