Regarding the March 13 story, "N.J. plans for $1.8B in federal Sandy aid":

The state plans to allocate $600 million to provide eligible homeowners with grants of as much as $150,000 to rebuild and raise their storm-damaged houses.

As a taxpayer, it is troubling for me to pay taxes and have that money being used to raise someone's home.

These homeowners have insurance and that is what should cover the cost to rebuild their homes. As far as raising them, that is the homeowner's responsibility. There should not be free money to do that. No one helps me pay for my house if it needs repairs.

I'm sorry if people built their homes on the water and the ocean decided to destroy them, but that is the risk they take. I don't have the money to buy a home by the shore because they are so expensive. Those who do need to realize that the ocean is more powerful than anything else on the Earth and will take away what it wants. Knowing that, they build at their own risk.

Now new flood maps are being drawn up and people are being told to raise their homes or face higher insurance rates. State Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, is complaining, saying residents should not have to do this and disputing the experts (as though he knows better than they do). He is doing this for one reason, so that his constituents don't have to spend the money to raise their homes - until the next big storm does the same kind of damage.

Sorry, but he who builds more or less in the water takes that risk. These homeowners can do one of two things: Raise their homes to the recommended level (at their own expense) or pay higher insurance rates. But taxpayer money should not go to subsidize people who decide to build near the ocean.

The federal flood insurance program is being scaled back because it is too costly - and rightly so. Why should the government pay for a program that provides cheap insurance to people building where they shouldn't? That is why the rates will increase.

Whelan can complain all day long but the experts have the knowledge to tell you that if you don't raise these houses, the next big storm will likely destroy them. Some people want to live in these areas, knowing the risks, but don't want to pay to raise their homes or pay the higher insurance rates. But the next time these homes are destroyed, they cry to the government to help them out. Enough is enough. Stop using taxpayer money to pay for their stupidity.

DAVID WESSEL

Galloway Township