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Gallagher Renews Call for Insurance Rate Relief

4/12/2006

CONTACT:
FLDFS Press Office
(850) 413-2842
 
New Data From Revenue Estimating Conference Provides Further Cause For Relief

            TALLAHASSEE – The Florida General Revenue Estimating Conference today released new estimates stating Florida is expected to receive an additional $960 million in unanticipated revenue this year and the next.  Today's estimate is in addition to the $3.2 billion in increased revenue announced by the Revenue Estimating Conference last November.
 
"This surplus of nearly $4.2 billion strengthens the case for providing immediate insurance rate-relief to Florida's homeowners," said Tom Gallagher, Florida's Chief Financial Officer.  "Providing rate relief for Florida's families using surplus tax dollars is good public policy and I'm encouraged by the growing support for it from Governor Bush and state lawmakers.   This is not a bailout of Citizens, it is common-sense relief for Florida's hard-hit homeowners."
 
Since 2004, Gallagher has been calling on the Legislature to use surplus tax revenues to offset any assessments by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, rather than taxing Floridians twice for the damages incurred by multiple hurricanes.  When the Legislature created Citizens, the state's insurer of last resort, it mandated that any shortfalls in revenue be recovered through assessments on homeowners.
 
"Rate relief is a short-term solution and should be tied to long-term fixes," Gallagher said.  "I applaud Governor Bush and state lawmakers for considering my proposals to provide relief to homeowners as well as long-term, comprehensive reforms of Citizens and our insurance market."
 
"The eight hurricanes which stuck Florida in less than 15 months created problems that no one could have ever anticipated," Gallagher said.  "Addressing those challenges, reducing the burdens on Florida homeowners and preparing Florida's families for future storms remain my top priorities this session."

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    SUPPORT GROWING FOR RATE RELIEF FOR FLORIDIANS

"If there are additional reforms that are going to be put on the table, which the Legislature is really pursuing, to its credit, then I think providing some financial support from the reserves we have is more than appropriate," said Governor Jeb Bush.
St. Pete Times – April 4, 2006

"I'm open-minded to addressing some of these deficits," said Senate President Tom Lee.  "I think we can resolve the cat fund through a relatively painless cash buildup. If you have a pot of money you're setting aside to fund property and casualty deficits in government-run entities, it's a fair debate to discuss where to put that money."
Palm Beach Post – April 7, 2006

"To me, it's just like a tax cut," said House Speaker Allan Bense, joining Gov. Jeb Bush and Lee in support of using tax money for Citizens.  "We can either send people checks they can use toward their assessments, or we can figure out a way to get that directly to the people…"
Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel – April 9, 2006