TRENTON, N.J., Feb. 19 -- The New Jersey Senate Republicans issued the following news:
Echoing the discontentment expressed by their constituents over the federal government's response to Super Storm Sandy, Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove are calling on Congress and the President of the United State to take all appropriate action necessary to provide further assistance to homeowners who will be hit hard with increasing insurance costs.
Through the introduction of a legislative Concurrent Resolution (ACR-181), the 9th District Delegation is urging the federal government to increase subsidies for premiums paid for flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Among the issues the Delegation takes issue with is the disparate treatment show to victims of Super Storm Sandy as compared to the level of federal aid and assistance provided to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Connors, Rumpf and Gove issued the following statement regarding their call for corrective action by the federal government to provide appropriate levels of assistance to Sandy victims and homeowners adversely affected by FEMA flood map regulations:
"Areas in our Legislative District were amongst the hardest hit by Super Storm Sandy, with thousands of residents being displaced and/or having had costly damage to their homes. It is extremely disappointing that, just as residents are finally feeling some sense of normality in their lives, they now find themselves being subjected to harsh FEMA regulations that could ultimately prove so costly that many homeowners will no longer be able to afford to live in their homes.
"Perhaps the most disturbing is the disparate treatment shown by the federal government shown to New Jersey and neighboring affected states following Sandy compared to the aid and assistance quickly provided to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Setting aside for a moment that the federal government waited months to provide an aid package to our area, when action was taken only ten 10 days following Katrina, residents attempting to rebuild following Super Storm Sandy must do so under different standards that are more complicated and expensive compared to those in place with previous similar disasters.
"To a large degree, the disparate treatment in assistance from the federal government is due to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 which was enacted by Congress. Super Storm Sandy is being described as an event that occurs only once in one hundred year span. Why then, are New Jersey residents being subjected to these new stringent regulations when our state's taxpayer dollars have, in the past, been used by the federal government to provide aid to areas in our country that are hit by natural disasters, such as hurricanes, widespread flooding, and tornadoes, with far greater regularity than our area?
"Consistent with core American values, New Jersey has always been there as a generous and caring neighbor when other parts of our country were in need following devastating events. Now, in the rare circumstance when New Jersey needs assistance, the federal government wants to operate under a different set of rules that have the detrimental effect of substantially increasing the cost of living for state residents struggling to rebuild seeing their communities and homes devastated by an unprecedented Super Storm.
"Adding to our frustration, as coastal State Legislators, is that the ill-conceived flood insurance policies were developed at the federal level, severely restricting what actions our Delegation can take. Unfortunately, alleviating the harsh FEMA regulations and the corresponding cost increase for homeowners will require swift Congressional action. Unless that happens, residents are essentially forced to adhere to standards required under FEMA's ABFE maps. Ideally, residents' premiums would be based on the regulations in place when their homes were first built. Obviously, when considering how stringent the new federal regulations are, this is not something that was even given serious consideration by policy makers in spite of the severe financial hardship that would be shouldered by affected homeowners."
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