WIERGATE ‚Äö√Ñ√Æ Two years after Hurricane Rita pushed deep into East Texas with devastating force that damaged or destroyed an estimated 75,000 homes, the state has spent less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the federal grant money set aside to repair or replace many of them. Local and regional officials say the state has been slow in loosening the purse strings. State officials blame restrictive federal rules and a lack of money compared to Louisiana and Mississippi. Advocates of storm victims contend the entire process has been broken from the start…. “It really appears to me that the state has had an overabundance of caution to prevent fraud and abuse,” said Walter Diggles, executive director of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments. “Every time we talk to them they say, ‘Look, we don’t want a Katrina,’ or fraud with individual distributions.”
No, that’s not a typographical error you’re reading. If you thought that the federal government’s response to what Hurricane Katrina did to Lousiana was inept and lacking in basic compassion, you ain’t seen nothin’, y’all. Thus far, only about $200,000 out more than $250,000,000. has been disbursed- yes, not even one-tenth of one percent. Even worse, about $210,000,000 sits frozen in a bank account while the state of Texas looks for a private contractor to coordinate the disbursing of aid money. This money isn’t expected to begin flowing to those in need until NEXT summer- three hurricane seasons after Hurricane Rita devastated far eastern Texas and western Louisiana. We’re from the govern…oh, never mind….
Ah, yes…don’tcha just LOVE watching Compassionate Conservatism in action?? Hey, who needs accountability when NONE of your tax dollars are being spent?
I can understand the need for accountability and ensuring that those who receive aid are indeed eligible for it. But does the passage of two hurricance seasons and the likely passage of another speak of ANYTHING but criminal ineptitude, inefficiency, and a stunning lack of compassion? While the people “managing” the aid programs retreat to their dry, comfortable homes every night, two years later some folks in east Texas are still living in FEMA trailers and still legitimately need a hand in putting their lives back together.
One of the legitimate functions of government should be to assist those in legitimate need, especially after natural disasters. Events such as Hurricane Rita not only impact families and their ability to function, they often severely damage infrastructure. Without the necessary infrastructure, getting assistance to people trying to put their lives back together can be made exponentially more difficult. This is why government assistance can be a lifeline after hurricanes or other natural disasters.
Of course, in order for people to be assisted, they actually have to GET the money that’s been allocated to help them. Here in Texas, it seems the only real way to confirm your eligibility for aid is to die. Get to it, y’all!