Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (D-Syracuse) strongly criticized the Bush administration for cutting homeland security funding to Buffalo by 48 percent and New York City by 40 percent.
President Bush loves to stress the importance of protecting us from the terrorists, but its obvious that his words are just political rhetoric compared to his actions, Magnarelli said. To drastically cut homeland security funding to a city and state that lost nearly 3,000 innocent Americans, is unconscionable. Its the same shortsightedness weve seen from this administration again and again whether its helping those affected by Katrina, or the Medicare prescription drug plan fiasco.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, New York Citys urban area grant will be slashed to $124.5 million this year from $207.6 million last year a 40 percent drop. Buffalo, which shares a border with a foreign country, will have its border control funding cut by 48.5 percent. And Washington, D.C. the other city attacked by terrorists on 9/11 will also see a 40 percent cut in its homeland security funding.
Meanwhile, Louisville, Ky. will get a 70.4 percent increase in funding; Atlanta, Ga. will see more than a 42 percent jump; and Omaha, Neb. will receive 61.8 percent more.
Just a couple of hours away in Toronto, the Canadian authorities arrested 17 individuals this weekend, who were in possession of three tons of ammonium nitrate. This is three times more than was used in Oklahoma City and was enough to do some major damage, Magnarelli said. Although these individuals intended targets were within Toronto, New York is only a stones throw away. If cutting aid to New York is the Presidents way of protecting our state and one of our countrys most important cities, then we should be concerned.
Governments most important role is protecting the lives of its citizens, Magnarelli said. Apparently, the Bush administration needs to be reminded of this. It is time for his actions to match his rhetoric. I will urge the governor and our congressional delegation to fight for New Yorks fair share of homeland security resources.