March 21, 2007
Reported by Associated Press
Some storm-scattered Louisiana residents could qualify for up to four-thousand dollars in moving assistance to return to their homes under Governor Kathleen Blanco's proposed budget for fiscal year 2008.
But the 270 million dollar program still faces bureaucratic hurdles at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, leaving state and federal officials unsure of when reimbursement checks might find their way into applicants' hands.
Under the program, the money would be a reimbursement to cover documented expenses. There appear to be no provisions for advances.
The Blanco administration has dubbed its proposal the "repatriation travel program." As part of the 29-point-two billion dollar state spending plan unveiled last week, the program would command 67-point-three million in state revenues, which would leverage almost 202 million in federal funds.
Legislators convene April 30th to adopt a budget for the fiscal year that begins July first.
FEMA spokeswoman Diane Perry says agency officials have signed off on the details of the state's proposal. But the agency is still mulling a separate request to extend the time period for the Other Needs Assistance Program, the source of the federal government's contribution. That program expired February 28th.