Texas to use stimulus on governor’s mansion
(RAW STORY) The Texas legislature is allocating $11 million in federal stimulus funds for repairs to the governor’s mansion, which was significantly burned after it was attacked by an arsonist in June. Texas Governor Rick Perry has criticized the federal government’s handling of the bailouts and rejected a $556 million allocation of stimulus funds for Texas’ homeless and unemployed.
The renovation, which state officials estimate will cost up to $20 million, will require an additional $10 million from the state’s budget.
“The financing for the repairs was decided in a late Wednesday meeting of the budget conference committee, which [State Sen. Steve] Ogden and [State Rep. Jim] Pitts lead, both men said,” reported the Associated Press. “The final budget still faces a vote in the House and Senate, then approval from Perry, before it can become law.”
“Asked if Perry approved of using federal money for the mansion, Pitts said, ‘He just wanted it done.’”
“We are continuing to work with lawmakers on the budget,” said Allison Castle, the governor’s spokeswoman, in a prepared statement.
“House Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Raymond, D-Laredo, said expenditures like repairing the ruined Mansion were necessary,” reported The Houston Chronicle.
“Funding that with stimulus dollars to me is just a non-issue … have ‘X’ number of dollars. We did as good a job as we could to invest those dollars wisely,” he told the paper.
The governor’s mansion, which was under renovation at the time it was burned, is over 150 years old. The arsonist has not been caught.