Fiscally Responsible Republican Blasts Gov. John Bel Edwards for Not Spending Funds Administration Doesn’t Have

A Louisiana congressman affiliated with a political party known for strongly espousing fiscal responsibility roundly criticized Gov. John Bel Edwards for failing to spend funds not yet available to the state.

During last week’s congressional hearing about Louisiana’s ongoing recovery from last year’s March and August flooding, Republican Rep. Garret Graves blasted the Democratic governor for not spending $1.6 billion in federal block grant aid earmarked by Congress for flood recovery efforts, despite visual evidence indicating the money had not been released by the federal government for the state to spend.

The two-term representative from Baton Rouge called out the Edwards administration for not doling out the unavailable funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, most of which is designated for a program to help residents repair and rebuild their homes.

Graves’ criticism of Edwards’ refusal to spend billions of dollars the state does not have comes in spite of the fact he belongs to the Republican Party, whose members frequently criticize Democratic lawmakers for spending money the government doesn’t have.

Richard Carbo, the spokesman for the governor who inherited a $2 billion budget shortfall upon assuming office last year, responded by explaining that the line of credit promised from HUD had “not yet been set up.”

Later, Edwards’ office released a screenshot of HUD’s disaster grant reporting system, which the agency uses to issue lines of credit. The screenshot showed the state’s account for flood recovery had zero dollars in it.

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Graves’ criticism of Edwards’ refusal to spend billions of dollars the state does not have comes in spite of the fact he belongs to the Republican Party, whose members frequently criticize Democratic lawmakers for spending money the government doesn’t have.

Additionally, Graves is a close ally — and served in the administration — of former Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who dogmatically preached fiscal restraint and responsibility to state lawmakers. Nevertheless, Moody’s Investors Service lowered Louisiana’s credit rating shortly after Jindal left office, primarily due to years of budget instability under his leadership.

 

About Tony Swartz

Tony Swartz
Tony is proof that you can write Peabody-worthy news without ever darkening the halls of journalism school.

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