Funding for Roof Fortification Shrinks in Landry’s Budget Proposal

BATON ROUGE (Louisiana Illuminator) — Gov. Jeff Landry reduced funding for a popular roof fortification program, from $30 million in the current fiscal year to $5 million in his proposed state budget that could take effect July 1. 

The Louisiana Department of Insurance asked for an additional $15 million for roof fortification grants in the next budget cycle, but the governor provided only one-third of that request, according to a report from the Louisiana Legislative Fiscal Office. 

The Louisiana Fortify Homes program began in earnest last fall, when the state insurance agency first started accepting grant applications. Lawmakers sought to help approximately 3,000 households strengthen their primary residences. 

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The program is expected to lower homeowner’s insurance costs by reducing the risk of natural disaster damage. Households were eligible to receive up to $10,000 each to help cover roof fortification costs.

State lawmakers, who convene for their regular, three-month session Monday, could increase the allocation beyond the $5 million Landry has budgeted. The governor and legislators aren’t expected to finalize the next spending plan until early June.

“I think we will be successful in getting that money,” Temple said Feb. 26 in a speech to the Baton Rouge Press Club. “I’m certainly supportive of it.” 

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Temple is also seeking other funding sources to sustain the roof fortification program. He wants to assess fees on the insurance industry to help pay for the grants in the future.

“What I’m going to ask for is a different funding mechanism so that we don’t have to go to the Legislature every year to fund this important program – and it is important,” Temple said.

“The industry wants to make sure that we have a program that is not just set up on the whim of the Legislature,” he said.

Temple said he also wants lawmakers to consider expanding a tax break homeowners can receive if they pay for roof upgrades out of their own pockets.

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By Julie O’Donoghue

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