Once again, we are being told that the Texas Legislature, in the current session, will solve our windstorm insurance problem. That will not happen. Our 14 Coastal counties only represent 5.5 percent of the 254 Texas counties. Because of our greater population density, we have a little better legislative representation with about 7 percent in the House and about 13 percent in the Senate. The 240 inland counties used that overwhelming legislative majority to remove the 14 Coastal counties from the state-wide risk pool and put them in a separate risk pool for windstorm insurance in 1971. That risk pool is too small for hurricane windstorm damage and the premiums will never be affordable.
The 240 inland counties are using their overwhelming legislative majority to oppress the 14 Coastal counties. Surely, that is a violation of the US Constitution. The drafters of the US Constitution feared the majority would oppress the minority and included safeguards in the constitutions to prevent that. Our only solution is a lawsuit in the US Federal courts against the Texas Legislature and each of the 240 inland counties.
Because of the greater population density in the 14 Coastal counties, we pay a disproportionate share of state sales taxes and state vehicle fuel taxes which is spent in the 240 inland counties. Because of access to our ports and the Intracoastal waterway, we have a higher density of primary capital-intensive businesses that use Texas labor to produce products that are sold outside Texas, and that revenue is spent in the state for capital, maintenance, and operating expenses and state taxes. Those primary businesses create a disproportionate share of the Texas economy which benefits the 240 inland counties.
Those primary businesses pay a disproportionately share of the Texas school districts’ taxes which the Legislative Robinhood bill distributes to the poorer school districts in the 240 inland counties. If the 14 Coastal counties were a separate state, it would be one of the richest states in the US. The 240 inland counties would be one of the poorest states in the US.
The Chambers of Commerce in the 14 counties should take the lead to organize, fund, and manage that federal lawsuit. The Homeowner Associations (HOA), realtors, title companies, home builders, building supply companies and construction companies and homeowners should be willing contributors if the Chambers will lead the project.
I will pledge $5,000 to that project. I challenge the Chambers in our 3-county Corpus Christi Metropolitan area to form a legal entity for that project and recruit other Chambers in the 14 Coastal counties to join. As soon as the legal entity is established, I will write my check.
Total cumulative damages for homeowners and businesses in the 14 Coastal counties over the past 50 years is probably in the $1 billion range for excessive windstorm premiums. If the Chambers will not lead the project, that damage sum should interest one of the large personal injury lawsuit firms in the 14 Coastal counties to file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the homeowners and businesses. When the lawsuit is filed, I will write my check.
I do not want to collect damages. I do want justice from the Texas Legislature by revoking the 1971 law that created the oppressive, unconstitutional burden on homeowners and businesses in the 14 Coastal counties.
Author: Ralph Coker
photo by pixabay.com