NJ’s Emergency Disaster Relief Act Of 2013 [AUDIO]
In his budget address Governor Chris Christie proposes setting aside $40 million to help those impacted by Superstorm Sandy. State Senator Jim Whelan applauds the plan, but thinks people can't for the help until the budget is adopted in late June.
He's sponsoring the "Emergency Disaster Relief Act of 2013," which puts aside $100 million as soon as possible.
"FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the insurance companies are not going to cover everything," explains Whelan. "FEMA does not cover second homeowners. For much of our Jersey Shore that tax base is derived from second homeowners so, what do those municipalities do when those folks walk away?"
The legislation would establish the "2013 Hurricane and Flood Relief Dedicated Account" in the Office of the Chief Executive and appropriate from the General Fund to that account $80 million that may be used to provide assistance to individuals and businesses that sustained property damage or loss as a result of Hurricane Sandy and its associated flooding. The bill would also appropriate $10 million to the Department of Community Affairs and $10 million to the Department of the Treasury.
"Let's set aside some money so that there is a fund to cover those gaps that FEMA, the insurance companies, etc, are not covering," says Whelan. "The hope would be, we would take the $100 million this year. Get it going and not wait until the budget is adopted in June. People need help tomorrow……Frankly, we're going to borrow from Peter to pay Paul in this situation."
Monies in the "2013 Hurricane and Flood Relief Dedicated Account" may also be used for any other storm relief or flood relief purpose as determined by the Governor, which purposes may include providing relief to individuals, businesses, entities or governmental agencies for those losses, damages and situations not covered by existing aid programs, and providing zero-interest loans, low-interest loans, or payments to local government units for the authorized deferral of property taxes.
Criteria for the disbursement of monies from the account would be established by the Governor. Such monies could be used only to cover damage or losses not already covered by any other source, and preference in their disbursement would be given to residents and businesses in counties declared by the President as federal disaster areas.