Congressman says system is broken and WNYers burdened with hefty flood tax
Saying, "Enough is enough," Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, opposed a bill he said perpetuates a broken Federal Emergency Management Agency flood insurance program. Under the bill, residents whose homes fall into designated flood zones would see a significant rate increase in addition to a new $25 annual fee.
"The FEMA flood program is fundamentally flawed with many Western New Yorkers paying into a system they will never see one benefit from," Higgins said. "This bill is guised as one that eases the pain, but I simply can't support legislation that allows for already hefty flood insurance rates to increase and new fees to be imposed."
Higgins became a co-sponsor of the legislation because the bill originally postponed flood insurance rate increases for several years. However, he said, in order to secure enough votes for passage, the rate increase delay was removed from the bill, offering little relief for Western New Yorkers faced with mounting premiums.
Higgins has been an outspoken opponent of the FEMA's flood insurance program. In 2008, he was successful in his fight to remove nearly 2,800 properties in the City of Buffalo from the flood zone. In 2011, he introduced a bipartisan amendment with Rep. Candice Miller aimed at terminating the National Flood Insurance Program.
The U.S. Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The program is administered by FEMA under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.