A proposed spending bill being discussed in Washington DC cuts over one billion dollars from the current level of funding, with the biggest cuts coming to disaster aid for states and local governments.
Substantial cuts are proposed to come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s state and local grant program. Some in Congress have indicated that FEMA’s state and local grants are wasteful and backlogged. To balance this out, there is a proposal to add money to the Disaster Relief Fund. This specific issue is a concern to me. Reducing investment in mitigation and preparedness projects is being “penny wise and pound foolish.”
Why? Take FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program for instance. This program has been proven to be a highly effective program for state and local governments to help prevent damage due to natural disasters. The PDM program has proven to save lives, mitigate damage, and, perhaps most importantly, reduces post-disaster costs.
The PDM program has been studied extensively. Studies have shown that it SAVES taxpayers $4.00 in post-disaster expense for every $1.00 in PDM grants funded. So, does it really make sense to cut funding for programs like PDM which have been proven to save lives and money simply to spend even more money to clean up after a storm and support individuals with disaster relief funds?