Monday, October 28, 2013

Subsidizing the Shore

While it’s probably too early to start conclusively counting candidates out or in for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, it’s good to keep your ears and eyes open to see what potential nominees are up to. Today’s WSJ had a front page article on the how real estate prices have risen in many areas hit by Hurricane Sandy. The piece contained this nugget that caught my eye:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says 261,884 New Jersey households applied for FEMA grants; 61,375 were approved, with an average payment of $6,000, and others are being processed. FEMA doesn't give aid to second-home owners, a FEMA spokesman says, because "if you have a second home, you have something to go back to."

New Jersey says it has given about 15,000 people $10,000 grants to resettle after Sandy and another 140 people rebuilding-and-repair grants totaling $12 million, with another 200 grant signings scheduled and more being processed.

Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie, says Mr. Christie believes the federal government should give rebuilding aid to second-home owners. Without help, many of them are likely to be priced out, unable to pay for rebuilding or insurance, he says.

"There is a concern from immediately after the storm that all our shore neighborhoods won't be able to return to themselves as far as character and being populated by all income levels," he says. "The Jersey Shore was never just a place for large second homes owned by the well-to-do."

Chris Christie believes that a legitimate function of the federal government is to shoulder some of the cost so that people can rebuild their vacation homes in New Jersey? So money collected from folks in Maine, Montana, and Minnesota is redistributed to others in New Jersey so they can continue to have their summer getaway homes?

Again, by itself this is not enough to disqualify Governor Christie from consideration. But it should certainly raise concerns and eyebrows among conservatives.