Tuesday, April 03, 2007

New Orleans Again

When Holden's not inspecting the President's diction or obsessing over gaggle (both of which we always love), some of the nice folks at First Draft have been posting to their blog some of their pictures and reactions to their efforts this week to help clean up what small portions of New Orleans that they can. Take a look.

In the post excerpted below, Scout Prime takes on one of the many underappreciated ways that the Bush Administration is continuing to keep Louisiana from recovering with any reasonable speed:
An extremely pressing issue here in Louisiana is Bush's refusal to waive the 10% requirement of state matching funds in order to receive federal disaster assistance under the Stafford Act. The Democrats saw fit to take care of this in the Iraq supplemental bill but we know Bush will veto this. However he would veto it regardless of the bill it were in. The White House has made it clear that it opposes such a waiver.....
The Administration opposes a waiver of the State match requirement.

OK it doesn't get any clearer than that.

The New Orleans City Business recently accused the Bush administration of playing politics with this and it is hard to conclude otherwise given the facts. Here they are:

  • Under the law Bush is allowed to waive the matching requirement when the per capita cost of a recovery bill exceeds $65.
  • In Louisiana the per capita recovery cost is at $6,700 so far.
  • The matching requirement was waived when the recovery cost of Hurricane Andrew reached $139 per capita.
  • It was waived for New York when 9/11 cost per capita reached $390.
  • The matching requirement has been eliminated 32 times since 1985 for other disaster recoveries.
  • Louisiana has already paid back $400 million as required under the Stafford Act, more than any other state has ever had to do for disaster recovery. The state still faces paying an estimated $1 billion more.

Bush refuses to waive this requirement and in the process has hamstrung the Gulf Coast recovery. Communities here are broke. They can not come up with the 10% match and so necessary recovery projects such as roads, bridges and schools are on hold.

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