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Business owners worried about flood insurance premiums

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MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

In a few weeks, many Tampa Bay business owners will face a spike in flood insurance premiums.

And it's not expected to let up for another few years.

The federal government is phasing out some subsidies that have been in place for decades and it could hit business owners hard.

Restaurants must walk a fine line to make a profit. You've got to spend money to make money.

While patrons pony up for that special meal, the restaurant is responsible for supplies, ingredients, and wages.

And starting October first, some business owners are in for sticker shock.

The President of the Anna Maria Oyster Bar, John Horne said, "Everybody's concerned about flood insurance right now."

When John Horne is not running the Anna Maria Oyster Bar, he's involved with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

And he's been getting an earful about increased flood insurance premiums.

In a few weeks, the government will begin phasing out federal subsidies for flood insurance.

"Just one way the government found to get some money back," said Horne.

FEMA says one of the reasons is to make the National Flood Insurance Program more financially stable.

Horne says older businesses on a lower flood plain could face steep hikes.

Horne said, "You're going to lose 100% subsidy. And so they're phasing it in over four years, so its 25% over the first year, then…. 25, 25, 25."

In other words, over the next four years, many business owners will be expected to pay significantly more for flood insurance.

Horne says many business owners are legitimately concerned. So he's going to Washington, D.C. next week to ask for help.

Horne said, "You've got to contact your congressman, you've got to seek relief with them."

Horne said for concerned business owners, that's the best thing to do.

Some lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have already been pushing to delay the implementation of the law.

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