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Courtney Updates Crumbling Foundations Stakeholders on Important New Provisions and Resources

July 17, 2020
Press Release

NORWICH, CT – This week, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) wrote to stakeholders in the crumbling foundations crisis to update them on some important recent actions that could help save money for eastern Connecticut homeowners and municipalities. The letter was sent to state officials, town CEOs of impacted eastern Connecticut towns, and to several private and public organizations.

Courtney’s letter provides information on several important and timely developments. Most recently, Courtney and the House of Representatives voted to pass the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), a new bill that would make infrastructure investments in communities throughout eastern Connecticut. Included in H.R. 2 were three crumbling-foundations related provisions that Courtney worked to advance—making it the first major infrastructure package to directly address the crisis. H.R. 2 would also provide an additional $10 billion to HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, one of the most important federal funding programs in addressing the crumbling foundations crisis.

Courtney’s first two provisions in H.R. 2 would extend the federal “casualty loss” tax deduction for concrete repairs, and would authorize new funding to help schools with crumbling foundations make repairs, like Birch Grove Primary School in Tolland. Courtney’s third provision included in H.R. 2 clarifies once and for all that states can use federal HUD funding through CDBG to remediate damage to concrete caused by pyrrhotite—making the underlying $10 billion program plus-up even more relevant to the State of Connecticut. With Courtney’s amendment included, H.R. 2 would prioritize home repairs made due to pyrrhotite and crumbling foundations as one of four qualified uses for that new federal funding.

Courtney’s letter went on to update stakeholders on the new guidance he secured from the IRS ahead of the 2019 tax filing deadline that clarifies financial assistance received by homeowners through the Connecticut Foundations Solutions Indemnity Company (CFSIC) will not be treated as taxable income. To read more, click here.

Finally, he updated stakeholders on research currently underway at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to study pyrrhotite and its effects on concrete. In 2019, Courtney led the Connecticut Congressional delegation in securing $1.5 million in federal funding to allow NIST to partner with academic institutions to begin conducting this important research.

Just yesterday, Courtney’s office received confirmation from NIST that they have officially received an application to begin this important work. Courtney notes, however, that additional resources will be needed to continue and complete the work once it is in full swing, and that the House Appropriations Committee has signaled support for an additional $2 million for the program in their 2021 budget negotiation process.

To read Rep. Courtney’s full update to crumbling foundations stakeholders, click here.