Aid Bill Empty Promise?

By: Davis Brister
By: Davis Brister

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Many Mississippi Gulf Coast residents were not covered by flood insurance and have been denied help by their providers. The state is trying to step in, but many question whether it's worth it.

Originally designed to help small businesses on the coast get back on their feet, the House added a provision to give a $100 million grant to homeowners not covered by flood insurance.

"The $100 million we felt was a reasonable figure that a person could receive up to $25,000," said Rep. Bo Eaton of Taylorsville.

The Senate upped the ante to $500 million and the bill stalled. Some felt that number was out of range.

"We don't want to put a complexing program in place that would be meaningless to folks," said Rep. George Flaggs of Vicksburg.

Many senators say they're doing that with any amount of money. It's just not there.

"To promise the people something that we know we can't deliver and we know is not going to be delivered, I think is an insult to them," said Sen. Terry Burton of Newton. "It's an empty promise, I think. It's something that won't ever happen."

"It's just plain cruel to leave the impression with folks suffering from this disaster, that there's a $25,000 check waiting for them from the state of Mississippi," said Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory.

There's also a question if the move would even be legal. Regardless, many say it's time to bypass the issue.

The legislature would have to appropriate $50 million for the program to begin. Lawmakers have been at the Capitol debating this bill and others for a week.


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