By Allison Nielsen
U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., introduced The Disaster Savings Accounts (DSA) Act in their respective chambers on Tuesday.
Ross and Inhofe's bill would establish a new tax-preferred savings account for the purpose of "fortifying a residence property" (i.e., house, condo, apartment) in preparation for an impending natural disaster. The bill would also establish a new tax-preferred savings account for rebuilding and damage expenses.
Under the bill, a homeowner could contribute up to $5,000 annually in pre-tax dollars to be used for DSA-qualified expenses and the balance would roll over at the end of each year. The DSA account would also allow homeowners to utilize the funds for uninsured personal casualty losses for the home.
"One common thread joins all of us across the nation and that's the unexpected risk posed to our families and communities when a natural disaster strikes," said Rep. Ross. "This legislation provides critical relief to Americans in disaster-prone states, allowing them to save pre-tax money for use toward disaster preparation and recovery expenses. Ultimately, this type of saving will reduce future federal costs to taxpayers since every dollar spent on mitigation can save up to $4 in future disaster recovery spending. It's important that we incentivize Americans to build a safety net in the event of personal catastrophic losses from high-cost disasters like floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. The DSA Act is a common-sense, proactive solution that will help keep families safe, their property protected, and will give Floridians and all Americans more control of their money."
The bill was hailed by fellow Republicans in the Sunshine State.
"I commend Congressman Ross on his innovative approach to solving what has become a financial difficulty for many taxpayers," said Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City. "This approach values personal and financial responsibility in the spirit of our American culture and is far less costly to the federal government/taxpayers than would be future bail-outs of ill-advised government programs."