South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says her state will rebuild from this month’s floods, but she can’t know how it will be paid for until the damage estimate is in.
She insists she will keep her promise to repair everything that broke or washed away, but needs to know the cost and how much the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay before figuring out how the state will find the money.
“We’re going to do the assessments. We’re going to see what FEMA takes care of. We’re going to see what the state needs to do after that. I’m not touching any of the reserve (funds) because we don’t have to at this point and time. If that changes, we will deal with that,” Haley said Wednesday.
Lawmakers have almost universally praised the governor for her handling of the floods. But some wonder if the infrastructure damage was made worse because roads and bridges aren’t being maintained.
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Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter thinks the governor can extend the compassion she has for flood victims or the people affected by the church shooting to the poor in South Carolina looking for health care. Under Haley, the state has refused to take federal money to expand Medicaid.
“I think the governor has shown tremendous leadership. I appreciate the fact she recognizes South Carolina can’t do this alone and there is a role for the federal government to play,” said Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg.
Haley, however, said her positions on her core issues have not changed.
“We have gone through tragedies over this past year. But my philosophical ideas have not changed,” Haley said. “Just my experiences have.”
The floods will likely be the costliest disaster since Hurricane Hugo in 1989, which did $13.5 billion of damage to the U.S. in inflation adjusted dollars, most of it in South Carolina. The floods caused the deaths of 10 people in the Midlands and others across the state.