President Trump’s threat to halt California supplemental disaster funding for wildfire and floods unless “they get their act together” could cost the state $10 billion.
Floods from a cyclical wet weather year could potentially be more financially devastating to California than the $27 billion in losses from two years of record-sized wildfires that burned three million acres.
California continually slashed necessary infrastructure spending over the last decade in order to achieve constitutionally mandated balanced budgets. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) awarded California the booby prize the worst state in the nation for its $65 billion infrastructure deficit involving dams, waterways, flood control, roads, bridges, seaports, and tunnels.
When natural disasters hit, federal law requires that cities and counties act as the first two layers of disaster response. If the event overwhelms local resources and a governor declares state of emergency, an appeal can be made to the president for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist as the third level of responder in dealing with disaster damage. California Insurance Commissioner revealed a record $14 billion of California wildfire insurance losses were recorded in 2017 and catastrophe modeler Risk Management Solutions estimates 2018 wildfire insurance losses of at least another $13 billion.