You probably already know that Mississippi ranks near (or at) the bottom of most state-by-state quality-of-life indicators.
So it might not surprise you that when given $750 million by oil giant BP as compensation for that gigantic oil spill a few years back, the state’s mostly right-wing legislature is wasting the money due to fraud and incompetence:
But Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Restoration Fund is failing to meet any conventional measure of success for an economic development program, a joint investigation by the Sun Herald and ProPublica found.
Legislators put the power to spend the money in their own hands, and they’re doling it out without an overall plan. They’re using the cash to fill gaps in local government budgets and funding projects with few metrics for success. They’ve disregarded input of an advisory board made up of local business leaders, a committee lawmakers created when outlining how the money should be spent. In grant agreements, recipients have committed to creating few jobs, even fewer of them high-wage jobs.
Just 33 full-time equivalent jobs have been promised by the 24 projects for which Gulf Coast Restoration Fund grants have been finalized, according to grant agreements. Those projects have received $53.3 million — an average of $1.6 million per job. Economic development experts say that’s high.
“Experts say that’s high.” I nearly spit my coffee out when I read that part.
“Gee, do ya think $1.6 million per job is too high?”
“I dunno. Let’s ask some economic development experts.”
You can read the rest here at ProPublica.