2004-02-06 / Community

Weiner: Bloomberg Does Not Get It

Weiner: Bloomberg Does Not Get It

Mayor Bloomberg recently lauded the increase in homeland security fund ing included in the Bush budget.A0 Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Member of the House Home land Security Task Force, re leased the following statement:

"The number of cities eligible for high threat homeland security funding has increased from 7 to 50 over the past year, during which time New York City’s share has dropped from 25% to 18% to just 6%.A0General funding in creases won’t do us any good if city after city are added to the list, diverting dollars we desperately need to places like Fresno and St. Paul, where no one in their right mind believes there is a threat.

"The Mayor just doesn’t get it. More funding is a start, but the only way it will make a real difference is if we limit the number of cities eligible to get it, and change the funding formula to make sure it goes to those places that are really at risk, like New York City. Getting $295,000,000 less than he requested is not cause for celebration."

During fiscal year 2003, Congress set aside a total of $800 million for High Threat High Density Urban Area Grants: funds to fight terror in cities identified as the most at risk.A0 At first, that list included only seven cities, but by the end of the year, 23 more major metropolitan centers were added.A0Im portantly, as the list expanded, so did the available funds (from $100 to $700 million).A0 New York City’s aggregate take: $149,760,000.

But in FY 2004, the Department of Homeland Security expanded the list again while reducing the funds, letting 50 cities divide up $725 million dollars.A0 Places that no one in their right mind would think was at risk of a terrorist attack-like Louisville, Fresno and St. Paul-began siphoning off funds that New York City badly needs.

As a result, high threat funding for New York City homeland security dropped by $149,760,000, down to $47,070,000.A0The City’s share drop ped from 25 percent to six percent.

In his FY 2005 budget released to day, President Bush increased high threat funding from $725 million to $1.446 billion.A0However, if New York City’s share of funding remains the same as the most recent disbursement of high threat funds, the City will get only $94 million, better than FY 2004, but less than 2003 and $295,000,000 less than the Mayor requested.

Representative Weiner, a member
of the House Judiciary Committee,
has introduced new legislation, the THREAT Act (Targeting Homeland Security Resources Effectively Against Terrorism Act) to ensure that the more high threat funding comes to New York City.A0

First, the bill caps the num ber of high threat, high density areas at 15.A0

Second, it amends the current fund-
ing formula to weigh critical infrastructure and threat more heavily (now DHS weights population density by a factor of nine, critical in fra struc ture by a factor of 6, and credible threat by a factor of 3).A0

Third, it re quir es that funding go directly to cities, rather than states (which currently receive them, and keep 20 percent).

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