A eye-opening new report from the State Auditor flogs the Department of Housing and Community Affairs and Office of Rural Community Affairs for receiving $97 million in federal money in the springs of 2006 for Hurricane Rita relief and recovery, but having only expended $11 million of that money.  

Moreover, of the mere $1.1 million that has been spent by Housing and Community Affairs out of one of the federal grants that accounts for $42 million of the total, some $231,000 has gone for administrative expenses.

The report notes that one source of the delays has been bureaucratic bungling between the two state departments and local councils of governments, which are supposed to be screening applicants who lost their homes and identifying needed infrastructure repairs.  Remarkably, the report reveals that 90 percent of applications for funding have yet to be renewed, leaving many disaster-stricken homeowners in the lurch.  It notes that bureaucrats are to this day sitting on several thousand backlogged applications.

While we believe government spending should be limited, government should also be competent and, when the federal government allocated huge sums of money to help Texas hurricane victims in spring 2006, the Auditor is absolutely right that state agencies must be more efficient in ensuring that money rapidly gets to the intendeded beneficiaries.

  

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