BP Spill Settlement Money Already Wasted

We knew there would be stories of misspent BP Settlement money handed to local and State governments, but this seems to be a choice case of bad judgment.

It’s a familiar lesson that taxpayers learn every few years: When government gets a big chunk of money, it tends to spend it quickly – and not always wisely.

Consider what happened in 2010 and 2011 when communities along the Gulf Coast suddenly got boatloads of money from BP to counter the effects of the disastrous oil spill.

Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi received $150 million for tourism promotion, and they didn’t let it gather dust.

City officials in Pensacola, Fla., handed out $30,000 worth of sports towels and another $30,000 worth of fleece blankets at local events. Okaloosa County gave away a trip to the Super Bowl and tickets to the BCS championship football game to drive traffic to its Facebook page.

And on and on.

Even though the money came from BP, that doesn’t excuse the waste. With more oversight, those funds could have been used as intended to help more taxpayers instead of a lucky few.

(Based on Editorial comment in Beaumont Enterprise)