Senators Present Bipartisan Plan for Post-Oil Spill Small Business, Tourism Recovery

For residents on the front lines of the oil spill, hope is fading fast.

“It’s hard to explain exactly what’s going on with us, but, all of us have died in our own way with this,” says Gulf resident Pam Thompson. “And it’s horrible, and it’s really hard to explain to you when you feel like you’ve lost everything that you are.”

And time is running out for some small businesses along the oil-splattered beaches.

“I hope they get it capped. If they get it capped, then they can deal with the problem,” says J.J. Pierotich, the owner of Souvenir City in Biloxi, Mississippi. “I’m an optimistic kind of person. We’re a family business. My dad is just the opposite – he thinks we’re going to be laying people off and cutting our hours next week.”

But, Pierotich may benefit from tax breaks being proposed for struggling small businesses. Senator Bill Nelson and Senator George LeMieux are among the six Democrats and Republicans who have worked together on a plan to take some of the burden off of property owners.

“It is going to take time for our coastal communities to recover. We should do all we can to help that process along,” said Sen. George LeMieux.

Lawmakers believe the proposal would bring jobs and tourism back to the Gulf Coast through tax breaks and by providing tax credits to companies that hire workers displaced by the oil spill.

“This is by no means going to solve the economic woes created by the BP spill, but it should help many of the folks who’ve been hit so hard,” said Sen. Bill Nelson.

The proposal has already been passed along to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus.

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