Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Vitter says La. needs unified plan

Consolidation urged for N.O. government

By Ed Anderson
Capital bureau

BATON ROUGE -- The state has taken steps to shore up its image in Washington, D.C., but more changes should be enacted at the upcoming legislative session to give Congress more comfort that New Orleans and Louisiana are on the same page on hurricane recovery, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said Monday.

Speaking to the Press Club of Baton Rouge, Vitter said that the state "needs to a have a single, unified, clear plan" on how it will help communities bounce back from the hits of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

He said the bill will go a long way to proving the state is "getting away from cronyism and politics. . . . We need bold reforms to prove to the nation . . . we are getting our act together in Louisiana government."

"They (federal officials) perceive that seven assessors (and other overlapping offices) are a waste of taxpayer money," Vitter said.

He said Washington also wants to see "more forceful leadership on the ground in New Orleans" on deciding how the city is rebuilt. He said city officials have to quickly decide "where people can build or not rebuild" because of the possibility of flooding in the future. "That is necessary to build confidence," the state's junior senator said.

"There is a concern (in Washington) that there is no consensus on rebuilding and how to redevelop New Orleans," Vitter said.

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