Homeland Security Aid
From the NYS Assembly • Sheldon Silver, Speaker
RoAnn Destito, Chair, Committee on Disaster Preparedness and Response
Herman D. Farrell Jr., Joseph Lentol, Members
Ann-Margaret Carrozza, Chair, Committee on State-Federal Relations
Governor remains silent as federal government shortchanges New York
State ranks near bottom in federal homeland security funding
The governor’s support for President Bush and members of Congress from his party has not translated into adequate federal funding for New York. When it comes to all-important federal anti-terrorism funding, New York State’s share per capita ranks second-to-last among the 50 states.
For every dollar New Yorkers send to Washington, we get back only 85 cents – ranking our state 40th in the nation, according to a recent estimate by the non-partisan Tax Foundation. In another study, the Business Council of New York State found that for fiscal years 2000 and 2001, New York was shortchanged nearly $87 billion by the federal government. So while the governor flies around the country supporting his party, he has done little about New York receiving far less than the state’s fair share of federal funding.
New York’s meager share of homeland security funding defies logic
New York was the target of a terrorist attack in 1993 and was the biggest victim of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, yet the governor has been silent about the lack of federal assistance to help keep New York’s families safe. The state remains vulnerable to terrorist attacks. New York has many high-profile landmarks such as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, an extensive transportation network, and shares a nearly 500-mile international border with Canada. How many reasons does the governor need before he speaks up for more federal funding?
The governor’s inaction is evidenced by New York’s being second-to-last in 2003 Office of Domestic Preparedness Homeland Security Grants, according to the Federal Funds Information for States. Per capita, Wyoming receives more than seven times the amount of homeland security funding than New York.
New York is also penalized by an arbitrary cap on the federal FIRE (Firefighter Improvement and Response Enhancement) Act grants, which provide money for municipal preparedness efforts: while Montana is budgeted for $9.07 per capita in FIRE grants, New York gets only $1.79. We’re ranked 40th in the nation under the Urban Area Security Initiative Grant Program, with a per capita allocation of $8.84, compared to Vermont’s $31.96. New York City receives a mere $5.87 per capita while Miami and Orlando receive $52.82 and $47.14, respectively.
It’s time to show some leadership
The president and Congress need to stop shortchanging New York and start getting realistic about the threat of terrorism the state faces. And the governor needs to turn his barnstorming for the president into a fair shake for New York. Hard-working families deserve an adequate return on the federal taxes they pay. The governor must use his influence in Washington to bring home New York’s fair share of federal funding.
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