This week, U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., part of the congressional leadership as senior deputy majority whip, brought back his proposal to amend the federal tax code to create tax-preferred savings accounts to help Americans prepare for natural disasters.
Ross first introduced the Disaster Savings Accounts (DSA) Act in 2014 and then reintroduced it in 2015. This week, Ross brought it back, maintaining it will benefit Floridians.
The proposal would let Americans have tax-preferred savings accounts of up to $5,000 annually for preparing owner or rented properties for natural disasters and for repairs and recovery if needed. Under Ross’ bill, unspent monies in the accounts can be rolled over. In his previous efforts to get the bill through Congress, Ross had the support of numerous groups including the American Insurance Association, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Farmers Insurance and home improvement retailer Lowe’s.
Ross weighed in on his proposal on Friday.
“One common thread joins us all across the nation, and that is the unexpected risk posed to our families and communities by natural disasters, like we experienced last year with Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew,” Ross said. “My colleagues and I have a duty to the American people to find proactive disaster solutions that work for Floridians and all Americans across the U.S. This is why I am happy to reintroduce my Disaster Savings Accounts (DSA) Act for the 115th Congress. This legislation provides critical relief to Americans in disaster-prone states, allowing them to proactively save pre-tax dollars for use toward disaster preparation and recovery expenses.”
Noting that Florida is currently facing hurricane season, Ross insisted his proposal would benefit the Sunshine State.
"With hurricane season beginning this month, the DSA Act will provide Floridians the ability to use saved funds for disaster mitigation to purchase items that increase the safety of their homes, such as cement-fortified walls, storm shutters and generators. This type of savings will help reduce federal costs to taxpayers because every dollar spent on mitigation can save up to four dollars in future disaster recovery spending. The DSA Act is a common-sense solution that will help keep families and their properties safe, as well as give Americans more control over their money.”
Ross’ proposal was sent to the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.