Well, well, well. Somebody finally cleaned behind the couches at the Mansion, and lookee what they found.
A billion dollars. Pretty hard to claim the State's broke now. Everyone is going to have a suggestion on how to spend it, so let me get on the bandwagon early:
Dedicate it to pay for the necessary improvements that FEMA won't pay for at the hundreds of public buildings and sites that are slated to be rebuilt, and still haven't (two years later....).
Apparently FEMA, in their infinite, um, "wisdom", will pay without limit to return a storm damaged public building that didn't work back to that very condition. But if you want to make it better when you rebuild, even very slightly, they'll only pay a portion of the assessed value, or not at all - even if the improved rebuilding costs less than the asessed value FEMA set to rebuild what was there before. Imagine if your insurance company, instead of writing you a check for the value of your storm damages and letting you best figure out how to spend it on rebuilding, would only pay you for building back exactly what was there before - and they had to approve even the smallest component that you put back. Had a rotten window frame before? Under FEMA's logic, you get a blank check to put back a rotten window frame, but they will not pay if you get a new frame. Or even to repair the rotten one. That's an "improvement" to FEMA, and they change the funding rules for the whole project if you put back more than that rotten window frame. Only a government could come up with logic like this.
And along with FEMA, there is an entire bureaucracy in the Governor's Office, complete with out-of-state consultants, which is also spending months (and money) wrangling about what constitutes "improved" or "not improved" under the FEMA regulations. As a result, many rebuilding projects sit - and those responsible for getting these places back up and running are tearing their hair out.
But with a billion Washingtons, or even half that much in "one-time" spending put to rebuilding, we could tell the FEMA folks to give us a check for what they will pay for, tell them and all these consultants to go away, and we will pay to "improve" things where necessary, thank you very much.
It makes no sense to put back what wasn't working before the storms.