On June 8th, I did a posting titled FEMA Wants More Responsibility for Recovery to Go to State and Local Governments. The article discusses a major policy change underway at FEMA.
On July 19, the Pew Trust released a report titled What We Don’t Know About State Spending on Natural Disasters Could Cost Us. Here are the 2 concluding paragraphs:
In an era of increasing expensive disasters, efforts to adjust the funding relationship among the federal, state and local levels and managing growing costs though mitigation are likely to increase. However Pew’s research shows that states are not comprehensively tracking their disaster spending. The limited available state data strongly indicate that these expenditures very widely across states. Without complete data about state investments and local cost-sharing practices, any proposal tackling intergovernmental spending issues or cost reduction will be operating largely in the dark. [Emphasis added.]
As federal efforts take shape in the context of increasing expenditures on all disaster phases, a commitment from state and federal policymakers to collect and share comprehensive data is critical. Understanding the full scope of spending on natural disasters will help leaders at all levels of government as they work to control the growing costs of these events in dollars, property losses and lives.
Bottom line: the change in policy needs to be based on facts and reality. I see a major disconnect here. I think we headed for growing threats/risks/vulnerabilities while simultaneously seeing retrenching and weakened federal capabilities. It is not going to be pretty.
Your comments are invited.