U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, and Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, this week reintroduced the Shelter Act to help Americans protect their homes or businesses against natural disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and drought.
The Shelter Act, which stalled in Congress when it was first introduced in 2019, would create a disaster mitigation tax credit for working families and small business owners in disaster-prone areas.
“The best way to recover from a flood is never flooding at all,” says Cassidy in a prepared statement. “Every family or business owner can reduce their property’s chance of flooding. This legislation empowers them to do so.”
Despite hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars spent on disaster recovery each year, there are currently no federal tax incentives to encourage families and businesses to plan ahead for disaster resilience and mitigation, Cassidy says in a news release about the bill.
The Shelter Act would allow Americans to write off 25% of qualifying disaster mitigation expenses, from strengthening the durability of a roof to elevating a housing unit to reduce potential flood damage. The tax credit has an annual limit of up to $5,000 per taxpayer. Eligible properties include homes or businesses in or adjacent to an area that the federal government has declared a disaster within the past 10 years. The American Institute of Architects, National Association of Realtors and the National Institute of Building Sciences also back the legislation.