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State

Durbin, Kirk want changes in disaster-aid formula

CHICAGO – Illinois lawmakers want the federal government to change its formula for determining how much aid communities struck by natural disasters can receive.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and his Republican counterpart, Sen. Mark Kirk, said in a joint statement Monday they’ve introduced legislation to make the calculations fairer. Currently, they say the formulation disadvantage Illinois.

Illinois communities hit by November tornadoes have criticized a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deny Illinois’ request for aid to reimburse local governments for cleanup and repairs.

State officials have long complained FEMA’s formula puts too much weight on population, so works against large states, like Illinois, with heavily populated cities.

Durbin and Kirk’s bill would require FEMA to take more local factors into consideration, including local poverty rates and local tax base.

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