Flooding at the south end of Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach during a king tide in 2015. Photo by Chris Helmer / City of Imperial Beach

For too long taxpayers have been subsidizing insurance rates for those who choose to develop in high-risk areas. While property owners should be able to make decisions on how best to use their land, taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the insurance premiums of those who decide to build in a flood-prone area.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, flooding is the most common and expensive natural disaster in the United States, causing more than $845 billion in estimated losses from flood- and hurricane-related disasters since 2000.  And, when flooding damages a community, you may be surprised to learn that taxpayers are not only held responsible to pay the majority of the repair costs, but they have also been paying millions of dollars annually to subsidize insurance premiums through the National Flood Insurance Program.    

San Diego Congressman Scott Peters is leading a bi-partisan effort to help protect taxpayers by ending mandatory flood insurance subsidies that are given to those who choose to build in areas vulnerable to flooding. The Build for Future Disasters Act (HR 8616) requires, starting in 2025, that property owners who built-in flood-prone areas be required to pay their fair share — and not force the taxpayers to pick up the tab.

Peters’ bill complements another bi-partisan effort underway in Congress that will require the use of the best available data when it comes to building federal infrastructure projects in flood-prone areas. The Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Saving Act will require federal agencies to plan for future risks, not just historical data, when using taxpayer dollars.

It is time for taxpayers to be protected when it floods. And where it rains, it can flood.

Haney Hong
President & CEO
San Diego County Taxpayers Association

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