Louisiana Struggles with Flooding Costs

Date: September 13, 2016 Last Edit: September 15, 2016

The state could pay 25 percent of federal disaster aid costs if FEMA request isn’t approved.

Louisiana Struggles with Flooding Costs

In addition to impacting thousands
of residents and businesses in Louisiana, last month’s devastating flooding—the
worst U.S. natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy—has left the state with more
fiscal woes.

On Aug. 26, the eight members of
Louisiana’s congressional delegation sent a letter to FEMA, requesting that the
state’s matching share for disaster aid be reduced. Federal law stipulates that
state or local governments pay 25 percent of federal public assistance costs
for rebuilding public buildings, highways, roads, bridges, water, electricity,
and sewer systems up to a certain point. If FEMA spends about $621 million in
disaster assistance to Louisiana, it can reduce the state’s share to 10
percent. In order to hit this threshold, Louisiana elected officials asked that
damage assessments from flooding in both March and August be combined.

The flooding in March amounted to
$100 million in FEMA assistance; August damages are still being assessed. Given
that Louisiana is already grappling with a severe budget crisis, a reduced
share of flooding damage costs would help prevent more tax hikes.

Also, remember that applications are
being accepted by the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund, which will award
triage grants to small businesses who have been impacted by the flooding.
Grants may range between $1,000 and $10,000 depending on the damages incurred,
purpose of grant, and funds available. NFIB is a partner in the fund. To learn
more and apply, visit https://www.nfib.com/content/news/insurance/small-businesses-affected-by-the-floods-can-apply-to-rebirth-fund-75119/

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