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Tourism tax break to stimulate NYC economy?

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Tourists who visit New York and spend money in its restaurants, hotels and attractions could deduct as much as $1,000 from their federal income tax under a bill introduced to Congress.

Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, and Thomas Reynolds, R-New York, co-sponsored the I Love NY Tax Deduction Act as a way to provide the city with targeted economic stimulus following the September 11 terrorist attacks, which took a toll on Big Apple tourism.

"Our Broadway shows are closing, our restaurants are empty, our hotels are vacant," Maloney told CNN Tuesday. "We really need help."

Under the bill, individuals could deduct as much as $500 and joint filers could deduct as much as $1,000 spent on New York City restaurants, lodging, and entertainment outlets between the date of enactment and December 31, 2002. Taxpayers are eligible regardless of whether their taxes are itemized.

The bill would also return the deduction for business meals and entertainment to 80 percent for expenses incurred in New York.

"Many people have said, 'What can I do to help?' This is one way they can help," Maloney said.

She acknowledged tourist attractions in other parts of the nation also have suffered as a result of the attacks, but said New York deserves special help.

"No city suffered the pain and loss of New York -- devastation and loss beyond belief," she said.


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