Stacey Pickering returns to Laurel

Pickering said that Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina was considered a case study on how to handle federal money. He said the state received $24 billion following the storm

“They predicted 17 percent fraud, but we only had less than 1/2 of a percent,” he said. “Governor Barbour, the Mississippi Legislature and local elected officials worked together to create a funnel for the money to be poured in. There was a very narrow window for the money to go out so we could detect fraud before ever paying the first dollar.”

While there’s a sizable difference between $2.8 billion and $24 billion, Pickering said the federal government has “thrown out our funnel and replaced it with a colander. We don’t know when the money is coming until it’s already been spent.”

Pickering said Mississippi was also provided with no accountability money to protect against fraud. “Oklahoma and Mississippi are the only two states where to governor set aside some of the discretionary money so we can watch out for the money,” he said.

Laurel Leader