California Congressmen Introduce Earthquake Mitigation Tax Incentives

March 22, 2017

A pair of Congressmen from California today introduced the Earthquake Mitigation Incentive and Tax Parity Act of 2017 to exclude incentives for residential seismic retrofits from federal taxation.

The act was introduced by Reps. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, and Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley. These earthquake mitigation measures are already tax-free at the state level in California.

The California Earthquake Authority and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services established the California Residential Mitigation Program to help residents protect their homes from earthquake damage. Their Earthquake Brace + Bolt program provides homeowners up to $3,000 toward a retrofit, which costs between $3,000 and $5,000 on average.

As a senior member of the Committee on Ways and Means, Thompson introduced the bill to bring federal tax law into step with state policy. Currently, the federal government taxes residents on grants they receive too safeguard their homes from earthquakes. Thompson’s proposal would eliminate those taxes, giving homeowners greater incentives to take steps to protect their homes before a disaster.

“The South-Napa earthquake damaged more than 1,500 homes in 2014, making it clear we need to do more to help residents prepare for disasters,” Thompson said in a statement. “These tax incentives will encourage homeowners to make the necessary retrofits to protect their homes—reducing damage from earthquakes, saving lives, and saving the government money in the long run. California has already seen the value of these retrofits, which is why they are exempt from state taxes. It is time for the federal government to follow suit.”

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