BILL MINOR Palazzo erred in vote against Sandy funds

When Gulf Coast Republican neophyte state Rep. Steven Palazzo was suddenly hoisted by the 2010 tea party revolt to a seat in the U.S. House, a veteran Mississippi lawmaker commented that an “empty suit” had just been sent to Congress.

Palazzo, whose short state legislative tenure was, according to some colleagues, marked by his steady stream of preachments about social and fiscal conservatism, but no legislative achievements, last week lived up to his “empty suit” forecast.

The 41-year-old accountant from Gulfport, a city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (and still in recovery mode with bundles of federal aid sent down from Washington) amazingly was among few members of Congress to vote against a $9.7 billion down payment on massive flood insurance relief for homeowners in New York and New Jersey swamped by mega-storm Sandy in August. He callously claimed the money to help Sandy victims should be offset by spending cuts. Funny that nothing was said about offset in 2005 when some $23 billion in federal Katrina relief was funneled into the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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