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Kingston calls for amending flood act
ST. MARYS -- U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-1, says the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 needs to be amended because rate hikes are being phased in quicker than expected.

Speaking Monday to the St. Marys Kiwanis Club, Kingston, who voted for the flood insurance reform, said the goal of the reform act is to bring flood insurance costs closer to true market value on the nation's coastline. The federal subsidy is billions of dollars in the red.

Kingston said the Federal Emergency Management Agency began implementing the reform act before completing a cost impact study.

The U.S. Senate passed an amendment to delay it until FEMA conducts its study. But it is unlikely the House of Representatives will pass similar legislation, Kingston said.

He said he has seen rate hikes as high as $10,000 a year for homeowners.

"We're very aware of what it means to Coastal Georgia," he said. "It's too much of an impact to a community."

Some rate hikes appear arbitrary and unfair, he said.

He said the rate hikes in Coastal Georgia are unfair because the region does not have a history of filing flood claims.

"It doesn't make sense," he said. "I want to know how they made this decision."

Before traveling to Camden County, Kingston spoke with a trade group on Sea Island, where he discussed the importance of partnership agreement negotiations and the deepening of the Savannah River.

He believes ongoing negotiations to establish a new Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement will have a significant positive impact on Georgia's economy.

"There are 352,000 jobs related to this project," he said. "Georgia has a lot at stake in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement."

The Port of Brunswick will be one of the beneficiaries after the Savannah River is deepened, Kingston said.

If the Trans-Pacific negotiations are successful, more than 250 million people living in more than a dozen countries could be potential customers for state businesses and ports, he said.

Kingston, a candidate for U.S. Senate, said the nation needs to simplify its tax code to allow businesses to focus on business instead of paperwork. He said eliminating duplicated government services would also help cut federal spending.

"There are 47 different job training programs," he said. "There's lots of duplication out there."

Another concern is the nation's economic role across the world, he said.

"We're taking a second-place role in the world economy," he said. "We're losing the American dream because of an over-reaching, big government."

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at gjackson@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 464-7655.



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