Misery likes company Florida style
The Sun-Sentinel is reporting that Florida may stop re-imbursing people for the purchase of generators after a natural disaster like last year's hurricane Wilma. This in response to the paper's reporting that those who got re-imbursements were middle or upper class. There were even times when people got re-imbursed more than what they paid for these machines.
I don't see anything wrong with the program at all with the exception of overpaying people. Some people can more afford this than others. What's the issue? If you charge it to a credit card and alot of people have these things, you get re-imbursed. The whole thing is dumb. The Sun-Sentinel ran an article a month ago about some poor people and how bad they were off without electric. Hell I was without electric for 12 days. If the program ends, is the Sentinel going to run a story on how some middle class family can't keep something refrigerated because they don't want to pony up for a generator? TFM won't hold its breath for that type of story
This kind of class warfare liberalism is usually confined to the Palm Beach Post. It seems to have overtaken the Sun-Sentinel too. Residents of Florida prepare to be miserable after the next hurricane. You have our local MSM to thank for it.
Open Post- Customer Servant, Quietly Making Noise, Third World County,
Florida officials are considering ending a popular program that reimburses residents, regardless of income, for generators in response to concerns that the aid has evolved into a large government giveaway that doesn't reach the state's neediest.
"The intent of the program was not to provide you a generator for free," Craig Fugate, director of Florida's Division of Emergency Management, said in an interview Thursday. "We don't want fraud and waste in our programs. We don't want our dollars not going to the intended victims or the intended purposes."
The program, which reimburses Floridians for generators, chain saws and other items as a hurricane is approaching or in the immediate aftermath, rewards those unprepared for storms. Instead, Fugate said, Florida should be encouraging people to be prepared ahead of time through incentives such as a sales tax exemption on generators. The state offered a sales tax holiday last year for hurricane preparedness.
Florida also is exploring whether local governments, using federal money, could loan generators to poor residents with medical needs or disabilities, Fugate said. "It seems to me if we're really looking at how to meet the needs of disaster victims ... getting power back to people at greatest risk certainly is good public policy," he said.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported last month that more than 300,000 Floridians got generators and the other clean-up items paid for by taxpayers the past two hurricane seasons. The cost has now reached $344 million. The Federal Emergency Management Agency runs the reimbursement program, but the state pays 25 percent.
As of Thursday, FEMA had distributed $102 million in reimbursements just for Hurricane Wilma, which struck Oct. 24. Most reimbursement money went to middle- and upper-income areas of Florida, while poor residents, including some with life-threatening ailments, went without power because they couldn't afford generators, the Sun-Sentinel found.
In response, some South Florida members of Congress denounced the program, calling it a waste of money.
The magnitude of the four hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004, along with hurricanes Wilma and Dennis this year, exposed inefficiencies and flaws in the policy, Fugate acknowledged Thursday.
He said his office is preparing recommendations for changes for Gov. Jeb Bush. The governor told the Sun-Sentinel in December that the reimbursement program is "flawed."
After Wilma, South Floridians shopped for items on the FEMA reimbursement list, telling the newspaper they were buying because FEMA was paying. The newspaper found doctors, lawyers and other professionals who applied for FEMA reimbursement, including a Fort Lauderdale builder who bought a generator to chill his wine collection.
In dozens of cases, residents told the Sun-Sentinel that FEMA reimbursed them more than they paid for generators and other items.
FEMA officials initially said the overpayments were an exception. Last week, after the Sun-Sentinel found that 99 percent of the generator claims approved for Wilma were for the maximum $836, FEMA issued a statement saying, "We're going to fix it."
An agency spokeswoman declined Thursday to elaborate.