NJ Residents Pay Billions Out-of-Pocket for Sandy [AUDIO]
With all of the federal and state funding for Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey residents will still be left paying between $8 billion and $13 billion out-of-pocket for rebuilding, according to a report from U.S. Strong, which calls for the establishment of an Extreme Weather Relief Fund.
The report, titled Extreme Weather, Extreme Costs: The True Financial Impact of Superstorm Sandy on New Jersey Homeowners, Businesses and Municipalities, analyzed the cost effects last October's storm had on the state. It found Sandy dealt roughly $37 billion of damage to New Jersey. However federal funding and insurance fell short of covering the rebuilding expenses.
"People are going into their savings, they're seeing the loss of their homes, they're seeing challenges to their small businesses and people unfortunately losing their jobs," sa¤P0 ¶ys Curtis Fisher, National Campaign Director for U.S. Strong and co-author of the report, adding private insurance pay outs only contributed $3.4 billion towards rebuilding.
During a press conference in Point Pleasant Beach on Monday, Fisher called on the importance of establishing an Extreme Weather Relief Fund.
"We know extreme weather is going to cause more of these events, maybe in New Jersey, maybe somewhere else." says Fisher.
The campaign director pointed out they're not in favor of having property taxes or sales taxes increased, nor were they supporting spending against the deficit. Instead, he said companies, who are the main polluters, should be targeted.
State Senator Robert Singer (R-30th) was also on hand, and echoed the support for a relief fund, especially after New Jersey had to wait for a federal relief package to be passed.
"So whether it's Sandy, a tornado, or severe flooding, they can be assured the money is there. So they don't have to wait and put themselves at the mercy of some congressman or senator saying, 'I don't think I have to do that because it doesn't affect my district.'"
Seaside Park resident Faith Liguori also spoke about the struggles residents face, noting there hasn't been enough federal money given out to people who need it She added that the process to get grants is so confusing and tedious many older residents are incapable of doing it.
Liguori spoke about an elderly neighbor who had to drain their entire life savings in order to rebuild their home after Sandy.
"To try and put their house just where it was, not to lift it or do anything. This was their savings in case they had a medical emergency as they aged. She said, 'We're back home now, but if something else happens we don't know what we're going to do.'"
Gigi Liaguno-Dorr, the owner of Jake-a-Bobs in Union Beach, says after her restaurant was destroyed insurance provided little to no help. She said she received only about $10,000 of a $1.2 million policy.
"We bought insurance, we protected ourselves in the event that something would happen we would be protected. Well now something happened and nothing happened."