Jindal in shadows of flood rate fight
Steep rate increases for flood insurance are hitting homeowners and businesses across south Louisiana, and state officials and business leaders warn the increases could severely damage local economies.
Despite the calls for alarm, Gov. Bobby Jindal has largely stayed quiet on an issue that is one of the biggest worries in his home state, according to the Associated Press.
While he’s called the concern a top priority for his administration, the governor has left carrying on the fight to his chief coastal adviser, Garret Graves.
That’s not the same as when a governor personally champions an issue that has both local and national implications.
Jindal’s made no appearances on national TV news shows to talk about flood insurance and written no guest editorials for newspapers around the country, like he’s done on other matters, some of which have no bearing on Louisiana.
The Republican governor’s absence is noticeable as parish presidents, local business organizations and state lawmakers have talked of the need to try to exert pressure in Washington for an intervention in the federally-run program.
The rates charged through the National Flood Insurance Program are rising around the country as part of a bipartisan overhaul passed by Congress last year to cut the federal government’s costs. Members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation are seeking to keep lower rates in place, but the effort hasn’t gained enough support yet for final passage.
About 480,000 Louisiana homes and businesses have federal flood insurance.
Jindal said he believes the flood insurance matter can only be handled by Congress, and said he supports efforts in Congress to stop the rate increases.
Until changes were enacted by Congress, the flood insurance program subsidized rates for people who lived in areas without flood maps or who built their homes and then saw the maps and their risk levels changed.
The program overhaul stripped the subsidy provisions starting in October. Homeowners and businesses are receiving notifications that their insurance bills are going up, in some instances by thousands of dollars.
Louisiana officials said flood maps drawn up by FEMA don’t recognize local levees or other flood mitigation efforts such as pumps that could lower a community’s flooding risk.
“We want the program to be sustainable. We think that’s right, but we don’t think that this is the right way to make it sustainable, on the backs of these homeowners and other taxpayers who have done nothing wrong,” Jindal said.
Maybe he should try telling that to people in Washington who could rework the program.
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