Delay of Flood Insurance Premium Increases Will Be Relief to Shore Homeowners
The United States House of Representatives passed legislation to curb some of the premium increases in the nation’s flood insurance program that have been a concern to many Sandy affected homeowners. H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, passed 306-91. The measure reverses some of the changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) introduced by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.
“This is good news for many residents of coastal Monmouth County,” Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) explained. “The impending premium increases contained in the Biggert Waters Act was going to be a real problem for local homeowners. With the expenses incurred after Sandy, the additional cost incurred through a premium increase would have simply been too much for many to handle. No one doubts that changes need to be made to the NFIP but we must do it in a way that doesn’t bankrupt our homeowners.”
At a press conference today, Senator Jennifer Beck joined with other legislators who will be sleeping outside of the State House on April 11 in an effort to raise money for and awareness of the homeless population in New Jersey.
Beck said: “Those of us sleeping outside on the 11th will be lucky. We only have to do it for one night and it will be during the spring. Hundreds of youths sleep outside every night through the most brutal of seasons and during the harshest of weather.
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) appeared on NJTV News with host Mike Schneider following Governor Christie’s budget address to talk about the importance of addressing New Jersey’s long-term debt problem.
Senate Republican Budget and Appropriations Committee member Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) issued the following statement on Governor Christie’s proposed budget for the 2015 fiscal year.
“Under Governor Christie’s leadership we have changed the course of mismanagement and failed obligations of past administrations by making the tough choices like pension and benefits reform. This budget again makes a record-high payment to the pension system while including less discretionary spending than fiscal year 2008, and providing $20 million for Sandy recovery.
“Today the Governor has rightly issued a call to action. While we have made progress, it’s clear that if we want to better New Jersey for all people by investing in things like education and public health we will have to do more to lessen the consuming pension burden on the state. Ninety percent of new spending this year has been swallowed by pension, healthcare and debt service obligations. We must address these costs.
Senator Jennifer Beck issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) refusal to to waive rules that prevent homeowners from rebuilding or performing mitigation work during the federal aid application process:
“This ruling is not just counterintuitive, it’s dangerous. Families are still struggling to get back on their feet and into their homes. Many are spending every dollar they have just make their homes livable. These folks should not be punished by the federal government for wanting to go home.
Bipartisan Bill Will Protect Residents from Predatory Energy Schemes
Governor Chris Christie recently signed into law a bill that will protect New Jersey consumers from fraudulent claims made by electric power and gas suppliers. Sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein and Senator Jennifer Beck, the new law requires the Board of Public Utilities in consultation with the Department of Consumer Affairs to adopt advertising and marketing standards for electric power and gas suppliers who purposely make false or misleading advertising claims to a potential residential customer or who – via the telephone – initiate contact with a potential residential customer who is on the state or federal “do not call list.”
“This bill provides an important protection for utility customers and potential customers,” explained Senator Beck (R-Monmouth). “I had heard from constituents in the Seabrook retirement development that there were confusing and sometimes predatory tactics being used by some utility suppliers to garner their business. We cannot allow these suppliers to take advantage of what can often be a confusing process while exploiting a potentially vulnerable client base.”
Senator Jennifer Beck said that the Board of Public Utility’s (BPU) recent recommendation to JCP&L that the energy provider should cut its rates was step in the right direction. A brief filed by BPU last week with a state Administrative Law judge recommends JCP&L lower rates by $207.4 million.
“If approved this would offer JCP&L customers some much needed relief,” said Beck (R-Monmouth). “Customers could see these cuts in the immediate reduction of their monthly bills. Household costs across the board have continued to rise, so this will offer folks some savings.”
Mayor Zimmer Likely Did Not Understand Program
Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon said that recent reports by the Associated Press and Asbury Park Press that Hoboken has received a fair and proportionate amount of Sandy aid closes the case on Mayor Zimmer’s claim that Hoboken was the target of political retribution. Recent media reports confirm that Hoboken has been approved for about $70 million in federal and state relief and recovery help, with more on the way, pending the approval of the Obama Administration.
“These findings put the nail in the coffin of Mayor Zimmer’s claim that Hoboken has been treated unfairly,” said Beck (R –11). “The mayor must have not understood how the programs worked as Hoboken received an equitable allotment of Sandy aid. To suggest that Hoboken’s Sandy aid reflects some sort of political retribution is simply ludicrous.”
Senator Jennifer Beck issued the following statement in response to the announcement that FEMA has overturned a prior ruling denying Ocean Grove eligibility for federal funding to repair its boardwalk which was damaged during Super Storm Sandy. Ocean Grove will now be able to apply for federal financial assistance to repair the historic landmark. Senator Beck advocated with many of her colleagues for the overturn of the initial denial.
“This is great news for Ocean Grove and bodes well for the upcoming summer. The assistance will be incredibly helpful as a key tourist location on the shore continues to rebuild in the wake of Sandy. I believe the whole experience is proof that the process can work and you should never take no for an answer. We worked closely with state, federal and local officials to plead Ocean Grove’s case and, while it took some time, I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. I have a feeling that the summer of 2014 is going to be a great one.”
North Jersey Mayor Expected 1/3 of Statewide Sandy Recovery Funds
Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon addressed Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s request for over $100 million in Sandy relief aid. The request represented over one third of the program’s total funds available to all effected municipalities in the state.
“Monmouth County suffered 20 percent of the statewide damage total. 11,467 of our homes suffered severe or major damage,” said Beck (R-11) “Without minimizing Hoboken’s own Sandy related damage, it seems utterly ridiculous that with $14 billion in funding requests from New Jersey’s 113 effected municipalities, Mayor Zimmer thought Hoboken should receive over $100 million of the $300 million HMGP funds. My residents have suffered as much as the residents of Hoboken – her suggestion is not only unfair, nonsensical and selfish. It shows how little the Mayor even understands the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.”