January 2, 2017
Contact: Jason Doré
Four and a half months after catastrophic flooding throughout Louisiana, much needed money for communities and families is being held up because Governor John Bel Edwards has yet to submit a plan to spend it.
Despite Edwards’ penchant for spending taxpayers' money--his dalliance with relief money is beginning to channel his democrat predecessor, Kathleen Blanco. Edwards has yet to submit a plan to spend $1 billion of federal flood relief money secured for the state by Louisiana's congressional delegation.
"The federal government will not release any money until the state submits a plan detailing how the funds will be appropriated," LAGOP Executive Director Jason Dorè said. "Governor Edwards has spent the last few months singularly focused on the Senate race, in which his chosen candidate was soundly defeated. But that race is over, and the reality is that Governor Edwards has waited too long to do his job and help to relieve the suffering in our flooded communities.”
Beginning in September, Louisiana’s Republican Congressional Delegation urged Governor Edwards to put together a plan immediately on how he’d spend the appropriated federal dollars.
"I just want to urge that it's going to probably be much easier for our negotiations -- or better for our negotiations holistically -- if we've got a plan submitted very clear on how these dollars are going to be spent,” Congressman Garret Graves said following the September appropriation.
"People are tired of waiting for assistance. Governor Edwards was asked four months ago to come up with a plan and has failed to do so," Dorè said. "Our congressional leaders have acted and secured the beginnings of our road to recovery--Governor Edwards needs to do his job or step out of the way and let someone else do it for him."
Louisiana officials should be very familiar with guidelines for securing federal disaster relief assistance after our experiences recovering from major hurricanes and the BP Oil Spill. Yet, as we ring in a new year, families and communities are left hanging in the wind by the inaction of one man: Governor John Bel Edwards.