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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sink, bipartisan lawmakers: Save My Safe Florida program



CFO Alex Sink, flanked by a Democrat and three Republicans, took to the podium this morning on the 4th floor of the Capitol and urged the Legislature not to let the My Safe Florida home mitigation program expire this summer.

"I always try to advocate smart investments in tough economic times," Sink said. "The My Safe Florida program is one of the smartest investments we can be making. This is a vital part of our overall strategy of reducing our hurricane exposure."

The program, established in 2006 with $250 million, will expire in July unless lawmakers extend it. The program, which provides inspections and grants for Floridians seeking to harden their homes against hurricanes, has $20 million left in its coffers, Sink said. To date, 400,000 homes have been inspected and 29,000 homes have been hardened with the grants.

"That results in reduced insurance rates and new jobs," Sink said, sounding the economy-job creation message of an aspiring governor.

Sens. Garrett Richter and Charlie Justice and Reps. Bryan Nelson and Alan Hays are sponsoring various bills that would extend My Safe Florida and provide new funding. Richter and Nelson have a property insurance rate overhaul bill (SB 1950) that would set aside 10 percent of revenues from increased Citizens premiums for My Safe Florida. It would be about $26 million a year. Justice's bill would keep My Safe Florida alive and it expands some of the uses for grants.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 8:35pm]


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