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A truck drives on a flooded road near the Platte River.

WASHINGTON — Nebraska and Iowa lawmakers are pushing a new way to help individuals and businesses affected by this year’s flooding in their states — tax relief.

In a joint press release, the entire Nebraska congressional delegation touted provisions of the Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019:

  • No early withdrawal penalty from retirement accounts for those in affected areas.
  • Employee retention credits for employers with inoperable businesses who continue to pay their workers.
  • No deduction cap for charitable donations to relief efforts in disaster areas.
  • Expanded casualty loss deduction.
  • Allowance for people whose wages fell due to the disaster to claim the previous year’s Earned Income Tax Credit.

“Nebraskans have had their homes and businesses destroyed by blizzards and severe flooding,” Sen. Deb Fischer said in a release. “We are strong and tough, but I’m committed to providing people with some relief in as many ways possible.”

Iowa’s GOP senators issued their own release highlighting the bill.

“My number one focus right now remains squarely on how to get our fellow Iowans the help and support they need — and to get it as quickly as possible,” Sen. Joni Ernst said in the release. “This bill will help provide important and badly-needed relief for Iowans in disaster areas.”

Salvation Army will hold pet clinic

The Salvation Army Council Bluffs Corps will hold a pet clinic Friday for people affected by recent flooding.

The clinic is a collaboration with Dr. Melissa Harrer and the Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs.

The clinic will be open Friday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Council Bluffs Corps, 715 N. 16th St. in Council Bluffs.

The services to be offered include heartworm preventative, flea and tick preventative, feline leukemia tests and vaccinations.

People wishing to bring their pets should call 712-328-2088 to make an appointment ahead of time.

No walk-ins will be accepted as space is limited.

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College students may be eligible for disaster assistance

Students who attend Nebraska colleges or universities in areas affected by the March winter storm and flooding may be eligible for federal disaster assistance.

Their permanent residence does not need to be in any of the designated counties to be eligible for assistance. However, property damage or losses must have occurred in affected areas.

Losses that may be eligible for repair or replacement include personal vehicles, clothing, textbooks and school supplies.

For more information, contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 800-621-3362 or at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

FEMA teams are going door to door

Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance teams are working in impacted neighborhoods to help flood victims register for assistance and to identify needs.

Teams are operating in Boone, Butler, Cass, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Nemaha, Sarpy, Saunders and Washington Counties.

FEMA staffers have visited more than 9,029 homes.

Resource centers to open in Columbus and Niobrara

Multi-Agency Resource Centers are opening in two Nebraska communities.

  • The Columbus center will be at the Columbus Fraternal Order of Eagles, 3205 12th St. It will be open from 1 to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
  • The Niobrara center will be at the Ponca Tribal Headquarters, 2523 Woodbine St. The center will be open from 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The resource centers offer residents access to multiple agencies in one central location, including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Salvation Army and Nebraska Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster.

The Nebraska volunteer group and its community partners will open other resource centers throughout the flood zone in the coming weeks.

Mobile computer labs available for workers

A mobile computer lab will be available next week in several Nebraska communities for workers affected by the flooding.

The State of Kansas has donated the use of its KANSASWORKS Mobile Workforce Center for stops in Bellevue, Fremont, Valley and Plattsmouth April 16 through 19.

Nebraska Department of Labor staff will be stationed in the workforce center at each location to assist with claims for Disaster Unemployment Assistance and job searches.

The 38-foot mobile computer lab is equipped with 10 computer stations. Those who come to the lab are encouraged to log on to NEworks.nebraska.gov. Claims can also be filed with smartphones and tablets.

The unit will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in each location. Individuals should look for a bus displaying the KANSASWORKS logo.

Locations and dates are:

  • Bellevue, Twin Creek, 3802 Raynor Parkway, Suite 201, Tuesday.
  • Fremont Learning Center, 130 E. Ninth St., Wednesday.
  • Valley, American Legion Post 58, 111 E. Front St., April 18
  • Plattsmouth Community Center, 308 S. 18th St., April 19

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Reporter - Politics/Washington D.C.

Joseph Morton is The World-Herald Washington Bureau Chief. Morton joined The World-Herald in 1999 and has been reporting from Washington for the newspaper since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @MortonOWH. Email:joseph.morton@owh.com

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