WASHINGTON -- Today the Senate passed legislation proposed by Senator John Kerry (D - Mass.) that will provide financial support to National Guard and Reservists through immediate tax relief to their employers affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The provision is a modified version of a key part of Kerry’s Military Family Bill of Rights and was included in the tax package that passed the Senate today. It provides a tax credit to employers in the Gulf Coast impacted by Katrina who pay reservists that are called to duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf Coast or elsewhere.

“Many reservists face a pay cut when called to active duty, and that can put a terrible financial strain on them and their families. Some employers have elected to do the right thing by easing that burden. I want more employers to make that patriotic effort, and this bill will help that” Senator Kerry said. “Where ever our reservists are serving, we should go the extra mile to help them and their families. This bill will help businesses in the Gulf Coast, who’ve been hard hit by Katrina, do just that.” “It is imperative that the House of Representatives does the right thing by including this provision in their bill, so we can quickly make this a reality for our military families.”

More than 190,000 reservists and guardsmen have been called up for active duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf Coast and other duty. Over 20,000 of these troops are from Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Kerry’s provision will provide relief to these military reservists and National Guard members by providing an employee retention credit which provides a 40 percent tax credit for wages paid up to $6,000 after August 28, 2005 and before December 31, 2005. This credit will help employers in the Gulf Coast who pay employees that are not able to work because the business was either damaged or destroyed and pay reservists and guardsmen that worked for them right up to the time before they were deployed.

Kerry has worked over the past two years with Senator Landrieu on legislation to provide assistance to businesses that employ reservists who have been called up to active duty. That legislation will provide tax credits to employers who pay reservists wages that are above their military pay and to help with the costs of hiring temporary workers.