Commentary: Perry is right on Hurricane Ike cleanup

This editorial appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

With the nation’s attention keenly focused on the race for the White House during the past few months, it seemed that most of the country — including federal agencies — simply forgot about the disaster in September that hit the Texas coast, causing a great degree of suffering.

More than two months after Hurricane Ike made landfall, many people are still without homes, and tons of debris remain strewn throughout several coastal counties.

Gov. Rick Perry is furious and understandably impatient with the federal government’s response, especially that of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"The bottom line is the system doesn’t work," he said last month when he announced the formation of the Governor’s Commission for Disaster Recovery. "These problems affect Texas, and Texans are going to fix them."

While FEMA has handed off part of the shelter problem to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, it will be hard for Galveston and other areas to recover if they can’t afford to have the debris removed.

That cost alone is estimated at $2 billion.

Although Texas has a budget surplus, which Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has suggested be used for storm-related costs, paying the total bill for hurricane damages could have a severe impact on the state’s finances and throw the upcoming session of the Legislature into crisis.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.