WASHINGTON — The Clinton Administration announced plans Thursday for distributing aid to the flood-ravaged Midwest, saying that states and local governments will have to pick up between 10% and 25% of the cost.
One Republican governor accused President Clinton of reneging on a promise to pay for all of the losses, and a spokesman for another called the plan "grossly unfair."
A formula announced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency would require the federal government to pay 90% of the cost of damage to public facilities--but only if a state's total losses exceed $64 per person. None of the nine Midwestern states so far have met that standard.
The government would pay 75% of the cost for any state with less than $64 in damage per resident.
Republican Gov. Terry E. Branstad of Iowa said Clinton led him to believe the federal government would pay all of the costs.
"It's certainly better than nothing, but it's not what the President promised," Branstad said. "We hope this isn't the last we hear of it."
Branstad said Iowa will be forced to come up with $70 million that it does not have even if, as expected, the state's losses exceed $64 per person.
Michael Lawrence, spokesman for GOP Gov. Jim Edgar of Illinois, said: "We think it's grossly unfair." He said it is likely that Illinois will not qualify for the 90-10 split, while neighboring Missouri probably will.
North Dakota Gov. Edward T. Schafer, also a Republican, said the state expected all along that it would be required to pay 25%.
"It's disappointing that they're not going higher. But here, for our financial planning, we've always looked at 75-25," he said.
Administration officials attending a "flood summit" in Des Moines last week said the President likely would waive the requirement that states and communities pay one-fourth of the cleanup costs. It is unclear, however, whether the promised waiver would be unconditional.
FEMA officials said Thursday that the Administration is keeping its word to increase the level of aid for the most needy.
"The intent here is to relieve the burden on catastrophic disasters, those hardest hit," Morrie Goodman, a spokesman for FEMA, said.