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Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 6:49 am | Mostly Cloudy 43º


California Granted Federal Disaster Relief Aid to Help Fight Wildfires

The FEMA assistance will pay 75 percent of the cost of state and local government firefighting efforts.

Assemblymember Pedro Nava, chairman of the Joint Committee on Emergency Services and Homeland Security, announced Wednesday that California has been granted Category B assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the wildfires devastating much of the state.

The Category B assistance will provide federal money to pay for 75 percent of the cost of state and local governments’ firefighting efforts.

“This federal assistance will help California in our time of need,” Nava said. “We are grateful that the federal government is coming through with vital resources to help us fight these devastating fires. Our public safety personnel are placing their lives on the line to protect all of us, and it is imperative that we have the necessary resources to help in these efforts.”

Nava introduced legislation last week to provide disaster relief assistance for victims of the Gap Fire in Santa Barbara County.

The legislation would allow victims to receive a homeowner’s property tax exemption while their home is being repaired or rebuilt even if they can’t live in the property.

In addition, the legislation would let taxpayers deduct excess disaster losses not compensated for by insurance, for up to five years on income tax returns, and provide state reimbursements of local property tax losses to the county resulting from the downward property tax assessments of properties damaged by the fire.

Other members of the California Assembly plan to introduce similar legislation for their respective districts affected by the fires.

John Mann represents Assemblyman Pedro Nava.

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