Flood insurance act must be repealed now to avoid crisis





Those are the kinds of emotions the Biggert-Watters Flood Insurance Act of 2012 is prompting.

With good reason.

The act, designed to rescue the Federal Emergency Management Administration from $24 billion in debt, is resulting in flood insurance cost increases that are beyond unreasonable.

Try a rate hike from $500 to $10,000 a year on for size.

The result, beyond immediate panic, is a home that can’t be sold in the future, which in turn creates a stagnant real estate.

Which in turn stalls about a fifth of the economy.

Our first question has to be: What were lawmakers thinking when they passed this legislation?

Rep. Thomas A. Marino, a Cogan Station Republican who represents much of our region, gave something of an explanation. He said when he voted for the law FEMA told lawmakers rate hikes would be minimal.

The moral of the story here is never trust a bureaucracy looking for a life raft to continued survival.

Marino and lawmakers throughout the country got an earfull from constituents during the holiday recess in emotional public hearings.

The result for Marino is to introduce legislation to repeal the flood insurance law.

We can’t imagine other lawmakers aren’t returning to Washington with the same thoughts in mind.

We can’t imagine that they want the housing markets in their regions to stagnate and their constituents to suffer under the economic weight of these unreasonable, drastic flood insurance rate increases.

There should be nothing less than immediate action to repeal this law. Step two is to open up flood insurance to private competition. And Step three is to find another means to get FEMA out of debt.

If our lawmakers are living in the real world that most of their constituents inhabit, they understand that these rate increases will cripple their constituents and the housing market and derail whatever recovery the nation’s economy is experiencing.