Assemblymember Cahill: Governor Remains Silent as Federal Government Shortchanges New York

State ranks near bottom in federal homeland security funding
March 2, 2004

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) said today that 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," Mr. Cahill said. "So while the Governor flies around the country supporting his party, he has done little about New York receiving far less than our fair share of federal funding."

The Business Council of New York State found also that for fiscal years 2000 and 2001, New York was shortchanged nearly $87 billion from the federal government.

New York was the target of a terrorism attack in 1993 and was the biggest victim of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, yet the state is 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 – or $35.67 per capita in Wyoming and $5.09 per capita in New York.

"The governor has been absolutely silent about the lack of federal assistance to help keep our families safe," Assemblymember Cahill said. "New York remains vulnerable to terrorist attacks. We have many high-profile landmarks such as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, an extensive transportation network, and we share a nearly 500-mile international border with Canada. How many reasons does the governor need before he speaks up for more federal funding?"

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. Under the High Threat Urban Area Grant Program, New York City receives a mere $5.87 per capita, while Miami and Orlando receive $52.82 and $47.14, respectively. New York State ranks 40th in the nation under the program, with a per capita allocation of $8.84, compared to Vermont’s $31.96.

"The president and Congress need to stop shortchanging New York and start getting realistic about the threat from terrorism our state faces," said Assemblymember Cahill. "And the Governor needs to turn his barnstorming for the president into a fair shake for New York. The hard-working families of this state deserve an adequate return on the federal taxes they pay. Our Governor must use his influence in Washington to bring home New York’s fair share of federal funding."