According to a widely discussed new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), federal expenses related to extreme climate events have reached about $350 billion over the past decade, and the cost appears to be rising as these events—including hurricanes and fires—become increasingly frequent and severe.
The report was produced upon the request of a bipartisan team of senators attempting to better understand the federal and state costs associated with climate events-- not just disaster relief, but also crop and flood insurance, wildland fire management, and repairs to damaged federal buildings.
The price tag for disaster relief alone will be unusually high this year (this Tuesday, the Senate will approve $36.5 billion in disaster relief, on top of $15 billion in supplemental disaster funds already approved by Congress.) And according to the GAO report, the federal government has no comprehensive, strategic approach to future disaster resilience, and no "strategic government-wide priorities related to climate change."
No plan means no clear estimate on costs that are currently rising with no checks in place. This leaves pending legislation that attempts to change the tax code shrouded in uncertainty. With expected cuts likely to drain federal resources, and unknown expenses looming in the form of rising global temperatures, how will we make up for the shortfall?
We don’t know, but at this moment, no specific tax legislation has been formalized. Join us as we keep a close eye on these converging events.