RALEIGH – Two years and two storms ago was Hurricane Matthew, and hundreds of millions of dollars in federal disaster relief grants have still not been allocated to actually help victims here in North Carolina. Those grants are managed and administered by the executive branch, also known as Governor Roy Cooper & Company.
The relatively weak storm in terms of wind speed and compared to Hurricane Florence last year, nonetheless dumped an incredible amount of rain that resulted in catastrophic flooding for many parts of eastern and central North Carolina.
State relief packages were passed and allocated, but according to a non-partisan report from the Program Evaluation Division (PED) of the state legislature a depressingly small fraction of the funds have been put to use in helping the victims those funds are intended for. What’s worse is that ‘administrative missteps’ are highlighted by the report as the many culprit.
The report points out that “more than two years since Hurricane Matthew made landfall, the State has spent only 1% of its total $236.5 million CDBG-DR award” provided by the federal government to help storm victims. By comparison, the report notes that South Carolina, which received these funds at the same time as North Carolina, had spent 22% of its grant money.
Understandably, the state lawmakers that represent some of the hit hardest by Hurricane Matthew are not too thrilled with Cooper for the apparent government dysfunction.
The co-chairs of the NC House Select Committee on Disaster Relief, House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne) and House Deputy Majority Leader Brenden Jones (R-Columbus), issued the following statement:
“This report highlights the serious concerns we have repeatedly raised with the Cooper Administration’s failures in its handling of the Hurricane Matthew recovery. It is beyond frustrating that two years after the storm ravaged Eastern NC, the Cooper Administration had only spent 1% of a $236 million federal grant intended to help families and communities recover.
“This is absolutely unacceptable — and the victims of Hurricane Matthew deserve better. As representatives of communities at ground zero of Hurricane Matthew, we will continue to fight for answers and relief. Our fellow friends and neighbors do not want any more excuses. They desperately need this help and we are determined to make sure they get the resources they were promised and this never happens again.”
Cooper and his fellow Democrats, by their very political nature, push for more government involvement in our lives at every turn. Bigger budgets, more government control, and more intrusion. Yet, when it really counts — in this case when it means pushing out recovery funds after a natural disaster — they demonstrate an ineptitude that is surprising, even for Democrats.
If Cooper and executive agencies of state government cannot effectively administer disaster relief funds, just think of the fiscal disasters that await if Democrats are successful in expanded federal healthcare entitlements like Medicaid?
Read the full report here
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