The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 24, 2014

Do your homework

The Daily Item

— After realizing just how expensive the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Biggert-Waters) will be for many of the citizens he is supposed to represent, Congressman Tom Marino has co-signed a proposal to repeal “all the policy aspects” of Biggert-Waters, but maintain the funding for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through September, 2017.

Biggert-Waters was passed overwhelmingly and signed into law by President Obama in July of 2012. The intent of the bill was to help stabilize the housing market in flood-prone areas and to spread the actual costs of insuring affected properties out over a period of years.

Clearly, in some congressional districts where flood insurance is required, thousands of home-owners would be directly impacted by this legislation. The Pennsylvania 10th, Congressman Marino’s district, is one of them.

Anyone who has taken the time to read the legislation, as it was passed, should have seen that there were many unanswered questions in the bill. Section 100205 (Reform of Premium Rate Structure), on the second page of the bill, not only raises red flags, it clearly states the properties and situations that would be directly impacted.

How was it that Marino and his staff missed so many obvious questions? Did he not raise those concerns at the time the legislation was voted on? Or was he afraid to stand up to his party’s leaders, and opted to just go along with the status quo?

He did, in fact, vote in favor of the bill, and is now co-sponsoring legislation to repeal it. How did that line go: “I was for it before I was against it”? In fairness, other congressional representatives may have missed this point, or perhaps weren’t as impacted by it, but Marino is our representative, and should have caught it.

Flood insurance is a big deal here in central Pennsylvania.

I don’t disagree in principle with changing the way flood insurance is sold and subsidized. We do need to consider long-term implications with building in flood plains, but unless we’re prepared to evict, foreclose on, and tear down every property located in designated flood plains, we need some sort of affordable plan. Insurance premium increases of 500 percent doesn’t seem like a very good plan.

Perhaps Mr. Marino and his staff should do their homework before taking final exams.

Rick Thomas,