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Tancredo: Time to stop funding post-Katrina recovery

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo says it’s time to stop “runaway government spending” on post-Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.

“Enough is enough” the Colorado congressman said in a statement Friday, aiming to head off requests for more money to help New Orleans recover from the hurricane that ravaged the city and much of the Gulf coast two years ago this week.

Tancredo’s statement comes two days after President Bush visited New Orleans and promised residents there that “better days are ahead” and “we haven’t forgotten, and won’t.”

Katrina smashed through levees in New Orleans and flooded 80 percent of the historic city on Aug. 29, 2005. It also obliterated coastal Mississippi and killed 1,600 people.

Several New Orleans neighborhoods still look like a wasteland, and Tancredo says the federal government is partly to blame. It has spent about $114 billion, or around $1 billion per week, but hasn’t paid enough attention to how the money has been used, he said.

Citing a Government Accountability Office report, Tancredo said potentially more than $1 billion in taxpayer money has been “squandered through waste, fraud and abuse.”

“This whole fiasco has been a perfect storm of corruption and incompetence at all levels” Tancredo said. “It’s time the taxpayer gravy train left the New Orleans station.”

Tancredo said he had earlier warned that Louisiana officials could not be trusted with federal money.

“State and local officials have been shirking their responsibilities and taking advantage of taxpayers since before Day One,” he said. “Throwing more money at this debacle will do nothing but perpetuate more of the same.”