Posted by Elizabeth Stewart - email
TALLAHASSEE, FL (WFLX) – Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced today that plans on how to collect data on damages associated with the oil spill have begun. He said a process to gather relevant data and information that will allow the State of Florida and its agencies to begin billing BP for calculated losses caused by the spill has now begun.
"We need to start tallying up the costs now so we can begin aggressively pursuing recoveries for our state sooner rather than later," said Attorney General McCollum.
Many of the damages associated with the spill can be quantified by state and federal statutes including oiled wildlife, affected coral, and other damaged parts of the state's environment and ecosystems.
McCollum's announcement came today at a meeting with former Attorneys General, key staff, and other parties. At the meeting the claims process, anticipated economic and environmental impacts, estimates of long term losses, and other considerations related to the spill were discussed.
Additionally, the Attorney General renewed his call for BP to establish an interest-earning escrow account with $2.5 billion for Florida claims and damages. The Attorney General also sent a letter to members of Congress today asking them to consider legislation to exempt oil spill payments made to Floridians by BP from Calendar Year 2010's income tax.
Exempting these payments from federal income tax would supplement the relief now being considered under the proposed Gulf Coast Oil Spill Loss Carry back amendment. Along with eliminating a federal tax burden, the Florida corporate income tax on those payments would automatically be waived as it is based on federal taxable income.
By providing a federal tax benefit, the proposed legislation would help all adversely affected Floridians to feed their families, make their mortgage payments, and sustain themselves while their livelihood is at risk due to the oil spill.