OPINION | Phil Paleologos: Buyback Program For Coastal Homes?
Mother Nature has been relentless on coastal home damage over the last several years. Were you aware that a voluntary taxpayer funded buyback program for endangered coastal homes was halfway through Beacon Hill?
Proponents of this idea say it will save taxpayers in flood insurance and rebuilding costs, that usually get federal assistance. Critics, on the other hand, say it will negatively impact the companies that do rebuilding work. So what's a weary coastal homeowner to do?
A possible solution, that's already passed the Massachusetts Senate and now awaits House approval, is to create a voluntary taxpayer funded buyback program for Massachusetts properties that are endangered and in harm's way. Some homes are just feet away from tumbling over eroded cliffs caused by storm-related erosion.
Those in favor of this idea say in the long run it will end up saving taxpayers money, because for every one dollar invested, we save three dollars in rebuilding and flood insurance costs. Coastal homeowners keep rebuilding every time a storm damages their property using federal emergency taxpayer dollars, which costs taxpayers, plus costs are then added on to flood insurance prices.
From what I understand, the way this state program will work is, the Commonwealth would reclaim homes that are voluntarily sold to the state, and then the property is returned to the local community to restore natural barriers for future flooding.
There is a politically correct catch, though. This program has to be connected to "climate change" legislation, so it doesn't come across as the government seizing private property.
The cost of the program won't be known until, and if, a specific buyback program is adopted. And whether you call climate change legit or junk science, what's certain is flood insurance and rebuilding homes with federal taxpayer dollars is getting exorbitant!
I want more specifics before deciding whether I support something like this, but parts of this idea make sense.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.