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National Flood Insurance Program, taxpayers around $24 billion in debt

There are 534 properties in New England alone that are considered Severe Repetitive Loss properties, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which manages the insurance program. Often, these National Flood Insurance Program-insured properties have had four significant flood claims – two within one decade. Nationwide there are about 12,000.

Scituate has 112 of them. Over the years, such properties have accounted for 689 losses. The total in claims: $21.3 million, according to FEMA.

All of this occurs without any inquiry into whether the homeowners are wealthy, poor, or in between: FEMA’s flood insurance was designed to help all flood-prone properties regardless of economic status.

"Missouri’s public universities have spent almost a million dollars since 2011 on contracts with professional lobbyists to represent their interests in Jefferson City — while plying state legislators with tens of thousands of dollars more in free meals, sports outings, concert tickets and other perks," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Read the full story here.

"The fund has raised about $10 million since 2000, including about $1 million or 10 percent that a state law designated to help organ donors’ families pay funeral and medical expenses. But none of the money has been spent to defray those bills, a Tribune-Review investigation found. Even after the state started a smaller program to help living donors or deceased donors’ families to defray hotel and meal expenses, it spent slightly more than $180,000 of the $1 million for that. Only one deceased donor’s family was helped before the state stopped reporting the results in 2011."

"Legislators steered more than $170 million in the state’s capital budget toward special projects that largely sidestep public debate and detailed documentation. The list ranges from a college radio station to a monument commemorating a stranded ship."

"There is no legal limit and no standardized formula for calculating Mello-Roos taxes. In some cases, the formulas are so convoluted that homeowners have virtually no way of knowing whether they’re paying the correct amount. What’s more there is no state oversight over the funds: at a minimum, the system is far from transparent to those who are footing the bill. Some are asking whether it’s even legal," according to an inewsource investigation.

A Center for Investigative Reporting article states that in the past several years, six of 17 academic deans at the Westwood campus routinely have submitted doctors’ notes stating they have a medical need to fly in a class other than economy, costing the university $234,000 more than it would have for coach-class flights, expense records show.

“A decade after schools were required to offer tutoring sessions by third-party vendors, an increasing number of school districts and researchers say the multibillion-dollar system is broken," according to The Sacramento Bee.

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