Assemblymember Cahill: Assembly Passes Resolution Urging More Homeland Security Funds

Threat-based formula would ensure more money comes to New York
April 26, 2004

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) announced today the Assembly passed a resolution urging the Governor to advocate for a threat-based formula for awarding federal homeland security funding (K.1946).

"When it comes to federal anti-terrorism funding, New York State’s share per capita ranks near the bottom among the 50 states," Mr. Cahill noted. "Important factors such as population, potential targets and threat levels are not being taken into consideration in the current formula for disbursing homeland security funding. That must change."

New York was the target of a terrorist attack in 1993 and was the biggest victim of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, yet Wyoming was awarded more than seven times the amount of 2004 Office of Domestic Preparedness Homeland Security Grants – or $38.31 per capita in Wyoming and $5.47 per capita in New York.

"It is clear that we need more federal funding," the Assemblymember said. "Our many high-profile landmarks such as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, extensive transportation network and our 500-mile international border with Canada make us a major target for more terrorist attacks."

Assemblymember Cahill also criticized the Governor’s failure to demand additional anti-terrorism funding from Washington.

"The Governor is quick to praise the President, but he has been silent on Washington shortchanging New York’s homeland security funding," said Mr. Cahill. "When he meets with the President at scheduled campaign stops in Buffalo and New York City on Tuesday, the Governor should tell the President in no uncertain terms our first responders and law enforcement officials need more help from the federal government."

New York is also financially 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 must stop shortchanging New York and start getting realistic about the threat from terrorism our state faces," Assemblymember Cahill concluded. "It is imperative that New York is adequately protected from terrorist attacks."