By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– This week, Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced HR 5610, the Earthquake Mitigation Tax Incentive Act, bipartisan legislation to exclude earthquake mitigation incentives from being taxed at the federal level. California has already made these incentives tax-free at the state level.
The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services established the California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP) to help Californians strengthen their homes against damage from earthquakes. As the first program developed by CRMP, the Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) Program provides small grants to help homeowners pay for code-compliant retrofits. A residential seismic retrofit strengthens an existing house, making it more resistant to earthquake activity by bolting the house to its foundation and adding bracing around the perimeter of the crawl space. In order to maximize the value of the incentive, H.R. 5610 would make the incentive tax-free at the federal level.
Rep. Cook said, “This bill will bring federal tax law into sync with California law to encourage residents in earthquake-prone regions to take preventative measures to safeguard their homes. Current federal law penalizes Californians with taxes, which leaves families and structures less safe. We have to change this, and these tax incentives are a step in the right direction.”
Rep. Thompson said, “After the South-Napa earthquake damaged more than 1,500 homes in 2014, we need to do everything possible to ensure that our homes are better prepared to withstand the next earthquake. By ensuring that homeowners can take advantage of seismic retrofits without being taxed, this bipartisan legislation will help encourage more homeowners to take preventive measures to strengthen their homes against earthquake damage.”
Glenn Pomeroy, CEO of the California Earthquake Authority, said, “We’ve designed this incentive program to help Californians make their homes safer. That’s why this legislation is so important, because people who do the right thing by taking advantage of this program shouldn’t be penalized with a tax. California fixed the problem at the state level, and now it’s time for the federal government to do the same.”
A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs 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.