Is Florida the state that cried wolf?
Republican Governor Rick Scott and the legislature have turned away federal funding earmarked for the state of Florida over and over again, from $2.4 billion for high-speed rail projects to $31 million to prevent child abuse and infant mortality to $40 million that would move disabled children out of nursing homes and back with their families.
And now that the governor is asking for federal funds, the Florida GOP is upset to find FEMA saying "no": Scott is appealing the agency's rejection of his $26.9 million request for help with damages from eventual Hurricane Isaac.
State Republican Party chairman Lenny Curry accused the Obama administration of making the decision political in a statement, according to Sunshine State News.
"Earlier this week we learned that President Obama 'believes in redistribution,' but this doesn't seem to apply to Florida or the victims of Hurricane Isaac. Today it was reported that his administration denied Governor Scott's request... effectively cutting our state off from much needed FEMA aid.
While the president seems to enjoy campaigning in Florida, he doesn't seem interested in the realities its citizens face. I urge all Floridians to ask the president to 'redistribute' some disaster aid to our fellow Floridians who need it today."
The Tampa Bay Times reports that FEMA director Craig Fugate, who was Florida's Florida Division of Emergency Management director from 2001-09, wrote in a letter to Scott that damage from Isaac wasn't severe enough to warrant federal aid and argued the state could handle the expense. The storm didn't become a hurricane until after it sideswiped the state, causing heavy flooding in Palm Beach County and parts of the Panhandle.
"It has been determined that the damage from this event was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments," Fugate wrote, according to KeysNet. "I regret we could not respond favorably to your request."
It was just the latest in disagreements between the federal government and Scott's administration; the two sides have also sparred over voter purges, early voting hours, and grants and medicare expansion tied to the Affordable Care Act.
But according to the Times, the rejection marks the second time since June that FEMA has denied aid to Florida after Scott's request and subsequent appeal for help with previous flooding in the Panhandle were rejected.
In an appeal filed to FEMA last week, Scott added an additional $10 million in damages from four more counties, bringing to total requested $36.7 million.
FEMA did approve disaster funding for Hurricane Isaac for Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Check out images of Florida preparing, enduring, and even enjoying Isaac: