Toward the bottom of an AP story about the next phase of the Rhode Island lead-paint litigation -- "RI, paint cos. await decision on lawsuit costs" -- is this little nugget:
The situation is so dire that Gov. Don Carcieri in January proposed delaying payment of a $10 million legal settlement to survivors and victims' relatives of a 2003 nightclub fire, before deciding this month that it should be covered by federal stimulus funds.
Can that be right? Federal taxpayers will wind up paying part of the settlement resulting from the terrible fire that claimed the lives of 100 people attending a Great White show in West Warwick?
State Budget Officer Rosemary Booth Gallogly said that while the states must use the majority of the federal stimulus money for education, the balance can be used by governors for fiscal relief. Carcieri projected a $357-million budget deficit in this year's budget before Congress approved the stimulus plan on Feb. 17.
Walter has covered the "deep pocket" legal claims and settlement resulting from the fire at Overlawyered.com in these posts. Anheuser-Busch, a beer distributor, Clear Channel, Home Depot all ponied up. But the deepest of the deep pockets is now that of the U.S. taxpayer.