By KEVIN DERBY
Don and Cherry Holm in their Michael-damaged home in Marianna
Last week, U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., showcased his “Residential Recovery Zone Act” to help homeowners who have been impacted by natural disasters.
Dunn introduced his bill in the middle of July. The proposal creates a new tax credit up to 10 percent of the purchase price of a new residence up to $1.5 million. However, the credit is limited to $8,000 a year. Dunn’s proposal lets governors “designate certain population census tracts in areas related to federally declared disasters as opportunity zones” to make “investments in the areas eligible for various tax incentives” which the congressman dubbed “Residential Recovery Zones.” The credits could be used up to three years after the area is designated.
Neal Dunn“The bill also allows for banks to earn Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) credit for loaning to individuals who are purchasing a home in a residential recovery zone,” Dunn’s office noted. “The bill affords the state authority to designate certain federally-declared disaster areas to be deemed .’opportunity zones.’ Opportunity zones, which were a product of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, provide direct tax incentives to investors for certain areas to revitalize an economically distressed area in exchange for a deferral of capital gains taxes.”
Dunn weighed in on his proposal on Thursday and pointed to Hurricane Michael which impacted the Panhandle back in October.
“The Panhandle faced unprecedented losses after Hurricane Michael destroyed or damaged a large percentage of the houses and businesses in its path,” Dunn said. “While we are working hard to rebuild, many Hurricane Michael victims are facing a housing crisis. These people are having to make tough decisions and some have even moved away because of lack of affordable housing.
“While not a complete solution, this bill will help home buyers and spur investors in disaster areas. By incentivizing home-buying we can stimulate the local economy and make it clear to all that the Panhandle is open for business,” Dunn added.
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means and the Financial Services Committees. So far, Dunn has not reeled in any cosponsors. There is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.