Governors decision lacks common sense

caines | 4/12/2012, 6:23 a.m.

Governor Scott is no stranger to controversy and it is no surprise when he walks a thin line on a legal or federal issue. But, when FEMA, a government agency gives a warning that they will suspend Federal Flood Insurance, he needs to listen. Everyone knows that our governor does not support our president, and he does not like federal regulations. He believes in states rights and he thinks the states should be left alone to make their own decisions. This kind of thinking has gotten our governor in hot water before, and it looks like he is getting ready to get in hot water again if he refuses to comply with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Scott has been put on notice that homeowners and businesses across the state will lose access to the Federal Flood Insurance program. The bill now sits on the governors desk, and if he signs the bill more than 2 million policies representing $471 billion in coverage are at risk. The House Bill 503 is the piece of legislation that allows local governments to issue building permits without getting approval from any other state or federal agency. The bill was backed by businesses who claimed the permitting process was time consuming and involved too many agencies. The House Bill 503, the legislature, the business community and the Scott administration thought that they could circumvent the federal government and eliminate regulations. FEMA, which is run by former Florida Emergency Management Director Craig Fugate, has determined that the law is a violation of National Flood Insurance Program rules. By leaving federal agencies out of the permitting process, the director of FEMA believes there would be overdevelopment in flood areas. Also, major companies would be able to lower their building standards without proper federal regulations and laws. Florida is a place where floods and hurricanes happen because the water table level is low. Hurricanes season can be devastating for many different counties in Florida and the federal flood insurance program is the only place to insure against flooding. Private insurance companies and state-backed insurance companies do not insure or issue flood insurance or losses. Without a federal flood insurance program the housing market would be devastated and come to a standstill. Real Estate companies would not be able to make deals, because the mortgage companies need flood insurance to insure their properties. Our governor has the potential to destroy the housing market for the State of Florida, if he signs House Bill 503. As a homeowner with flood insurance, I am hoping that he listens to the members of FEMA and he does not sign the bill. Roger Caldwell is the CEO of On Point Media Group in Jacksonville. By Roger CaldwellMiami Times contributorjet38@bellsouth.net