March 2004

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
What the experts are saying...

"The size of our imbalance of payments represents a larger-than-ever economic drain on the Empire State."

- Daniel B. Walsh, President/CEO, The Business Council of New York State

"We are grateful for the help, but it does not come anywhere near the needs that we have. Far and away, the people and city of New York are bearing the cost of defending the homeland in New York."

- Ray Kelly, New York City Police Commissioner

"At the end of the day, blowing off New York and L.A. so that you can make sure Wyoming is safe just makes no sense."

- Stephen E. Flynn, former U.S. Coast Guard Commander and Director, Council on Foreign Relations’ Independent Task Force on Homeland Security Imperatives

"It was fine for New York to send more to Washington during the New Deal, when other regions were in crisis. We were happy to help. But that is no longer the case. We have seen a gradual role reversal. The transfer of wealth keeps working against us."

- The late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "The Federal Budget and the States," 1999

"It goes against every fundamental precept of fighting crime. If you’re having a robbery pattern in a particular community, you put detectives there. It’s actually a no-brainer, but there’s apparently no brain in Washington, D.C."

- Al O’Leary, Communications Director, New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association

"When the President of the United States declared war on terrorism, he clearly wanted to train, equip and mobilize the professional fire service should another tragic event transpire. When the state of New York received monies to fulfill that declaration we somehow have fallen short of the mark. We know the fire service was not on the receiving end as promised."

- John Black, Counsel, New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association

"And even though the federal government has authorized and appropriated billions of dollars to finance improved homeland security efforts, virtually none of these dollars [have] trickled down to the non-fire based EMS first responders that so many citizens of this great state rely upon."

- Walter Reisner, CEO, Trans Am Ambulance Services Inc., Olean, NY

"In addition, while both the federal Health Resources and Services Administration and the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention have provided a total of $45 million in funding in support of hospital-based bioterrorism programs, none of these dollars have been provided directly to emergency medical services, among whom lack of equipment and training continue to be problematic, some two-and-one-half years after September 11, 2001.

- Dr. Arthur Cooper, Director of Trauma and Pediatric Surgical Services, Columbia University Affiliation at Harlem Hospital Center

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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