How a ‘Well-Intentioned’ Tax Credit Became a Colossal Mess

WASHINGTON—Stephanie Murphy needed an idea. Fast.

It was early 2020, and the Democratic congresswoman saw the coronavirus pandemic posing a catastrophic economic threat to her Orlando, Fla.-area district. By mid-March, the Disney and Universal resorts closed. Murphy and her staff hunted for ways to help workers and businesses and prevent mass unemployment in the tourism industry. They latched onto a policy implemented in disaster zones after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

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