Rep. Paul Cook Co-sponsors Legislation Offering Homeowner Tax Incentives for Earthquake Preparedness
WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) announced that he is co-sponsoring the Earthquake Mitigation Incentive and Tax Parity Act to exclude grants that support residential seismic retrofits from federal taxation. A residential seismic retrofit strengthens an existing house, making it more resistant to earthquakes by bolting the house to its foundation, and adding bracing around the perimeter of the crawl space. These earthquake mitigation measures are already tax-free at the state level in California.
A study from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimated that earthquake losses in the United States total about $4.4 billion per year, with California alone accounting for $3.3 billion in damages.
To address this significant risk, the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services established the California Residential Mitigation Program to help residents take proactive measures in protecting 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.
Rep. Cook said, “We must ensure that homeowners aren’t penalized for investing in earthquake readiness. While these earthquake mitigation measures are tax-free in the State of California, residents are taxed by the federal government on grants they receive to safeguard their homes from earthquakes. The Trona quakes in July are a reminder that we need to strongly encourage earthquake readiness incentives that will save lives and protect families and their homes.”
A member of the House Natural Resources and Armed Services Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.