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Politics

Dennis Ross Fights for Tax-Preferred Disaster Savings Accounts

May 10, 2015 - 6:00pm

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., showcased his proposal to amend the federal tax code to create tax-preferred savings accounts to help Americans prepare for natural disasters.

Ross, part of the House leadership as senior deputy majority whip, introduced the Disaster Savings Accounts (DSA) Act earlier this month. The proposal would let Americans have tax-preferred savings accounts of up to $5,000 annually for preparing owner or rented properties for natural disasters and for repairs and recovery if needed. Under Rosss bill, unspent monies in the accounts can be rolled over.

One common thread joins us all across the nation, and thats the unexpected risk posed to our families and communities by natural disasters, Ross said on Monday. My colleagues and I have a duty to the American people to find proactive solutions that work for Floridians and Americans all across the U.S. This is why Im happy to introduce the Disaster Savings Accounts (DSA) Act. This legislation provides critical relief to Americans in disaster-prone states, allowing them to proactively save pre-tax dollars for use toward disaster preparation and recovery expenses.

With hurricane season beginning in June, the DSA Act will provide Floridians the ability to use saved funds for disaster mitigation to purchase items that increase the safety of their homes, such as cement-fortified walls, storm shutters and generators, Ross added. This type of savings will help reduce federal costs to taxpayers because every dollar spent on mitigation can save up to $4 in future disaster recovery spending. The DSA Act is a common-sense solution that will help keep families and their properties safe, as well as give Americans more control over their money.

Ross introduced the bill on May 1 and it is currently before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. While no other congressional representatives have signed up to co-sponsor the bill, Ross announced on Monday the support of numerous groups including the American Insurance Association, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Farmers Insurance and home improvement retailer Lowes.

This innovative policy will provide United States citizens a financially advantageous way to enhance home resilience before or after disasters strike, said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, the president and CEO of FLASH We support this legislation and the smart, yet simple, approach of tax relief as a proven method to empower and reward families who build and prepare their homes with Mother Nature in mind.

Ross is a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in 2016.


Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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