The Associated Press reported yesterday that federal tax incentives for Gulf Coast reconstruction are being used for luxury sports accommodations:
With large swaths of the Gulf Coast still in ruins from Hurricane Katrina, rich federal tax breaks designed to spur rebuilding are flowing hundreds of miles inland to investors who are buying up luxury condos near the University of Alabama's football stadium.
About 10 condominium projects are going up in and around Tuscaloosa, and builders are asking up to $1 million for units with granite countertops, king-size bathtubs and 'Bama decor, including crimson couches and Bear Bryant wall art.
While many of the buyers are Crimson Tide alumni or ardent football fans not entitled to any special Katrina-related tax breaks, many others are real estate investors who are purchasing the condos with plans to rent them out.
According to the article, 10% of recent condo sales in Tuscaloosa involve "GO Zone" tax incentives, which provide huge tax savings through accelerated depreciation.
Meanwhile, people still living in FEMA trailers would be happy with "temporary" emergency housing that doesn't make them sick or burst into flames, and would like to move home if there were homes for them to move to, even if they don't have granite counter tops and king-size bathtubs.
In other news, politicians begin their now annual anniversary tours of the "hurricane-ravaged" Gulf Coast for photo ops and to dispense more promises to residents still waiting for relief.