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Congressman Dunn Wants More Disaster Relief For Panhandle Counties

Blaise Gainey

Tuesday the Federal Emergency Management Agency gave more than $6 million to cities in the Florida panhandle to reimburse them for debris removal and repairing public utilities after Hurricane Michael. Congressman Neal Dunn spoke to entrepreneurs in Tallahassee about his plan to help with the recovery.

Dunn believes the panhandle hasn’t gotten enough attention after suffering catastrophic damage from Hurricane Michael. To help he has filed a bill to give financial breaks to Floridians in the Panhandle.

"First part is a first-time homeowner's refundable tax cut but it goes to everybody, not just first time owners," said Dunn.

Dunn thinks this will entice people to move to the area or stay there. The only stipulation is it must be the homebuyer’s main residence.

"Second is the opportunity zones and it works just like the opportunity zones that exist in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, except that it can only apply to properties that are designated in the disaster area. And it’s a limited amount of area, so it’s 5% of each of the Stafford act counties," explained Dunn.

Stafford Act counties are those included in the president’s October Emergency Declaration. Dunn also wants Congress to pass a Disaster Tax Relief bill. He says it’s happened every year since Hurricane Katrina.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.