Feinstein and Harris Introduce Legislation to Protect Earthquake Loss Mitigation Incentive Ahead of Senate GOP Tax Bill Release
Nov 09 2017
Washington – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to introduce legislation to prevent earthquake mitigation incentives from being taxed at the federal level. The Earthquake Mitigation Incentive and Tax Parity Act of 2017 is the Senate companion to H.R.1691, introduced by Congressmen Paul Cook and Mike Thompson (both D-Calif.), and its introduction comes ahead of Senate Republicans’ tax bill expected to be released on Thursday.
“Our bill makes sure Californians aren't taxed for participating in lifesaving earthquake preparation programs, like the Earthquake Brace + Bolt program,” said Senator Feinstein. “We must do all we can to encourage earthquake-readiness and this bill will make it easier for Californians to take the necessary steps to protect their families.”
“Investments in efforts to mitigate the damage from earthquakes could save lives and other natural disaster response relief funds,” said Senator Harris. “We should do everything in our power to incentivize homeowners to take advantage of disaster preparedness, and this legislation will ensure they are not penalized for taking proactive measures to protect themselves.”
In recent years, Californians have made prudent investments to protect their homes from earthquake damage, and this bill will help ensure that Californians are not penalized for continuing to make those investments. Since 2011, Californians have been able to take advantage of the California Residential Mitigation Program, established by the California Earthquake Authority and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. This program helps homeowners retrofit their property to improve seismic stability. For example, the Earthquake Brace + Bolt Program provides homeowners with up to $3,000 toward completing a home retrofit, which can cost as much as $5,000 on average.
However, homeowners who take advantage of state earthquake mitigation assistance are subject to federal taxes on the grants they receive. This disincentives homeowner from taking a proactive step to making sure they protect themselves from damage during an earthquake.
The Earthquake Mitigation Incentive and Tax Parity Act fixes this by exempting state grants from federal taxation. The bill will ensure that homeowners aren’t penalized at the federal level for steps that they take to protect their homes and proactively make themselves safer in the event of a disaster.