2006-06-02 / Front Page

Weiner knocks DHS On Terrorist Funding

New York City anti-terror funding for 2006 has been slashed by $83 million or 40% while small, low-risk cities like Louisville and Omaha have received questionable funding increases, according to figures released today by the Department of Homeland Security. Rep. Anthony Weiner, a member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, responded to the announcement calling the 2006 allocation of funds "a shocking abuse of homeland security dollars."

According to DHS, the Big Apple will receive only $124.5 million in homeland security grants in 2006 compared with $207.5 million last year. In per capita security dollars, New York City now ranks 23rd on the list of 46 cities to receive funding, despite being recognized as one of the top seven prime terror targets.

While New York City gets dangerously shortchanged, small, low-threat areas are set to receive questionable increases in funding.  Three small cities in particular - Louisville, Charlotte and Omaha - will each receive more than a 60% increase in anti-terror dollars. Exactly one half of the cities - 7 of 14 cities - that will receive funding increases in 2006 have populations smaller than Staten Island.

Currently, New York has to directly compete for anti-terror dollars with 45 other areas that include over 600 different cities and towns, covering 54% of the country's population. What will these cities do with anti-terror funds?

The list includes places that no one in their right mind would think was at risk of a terrorist attack-like Omaha, population 390,000, and Louisville, population 256,000. Instead of protecting the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street and Lincoln Center, DHS may give money to protect Portland's Glazed Terra Cotta Historic District or Kansas City's Jesse James Farm.

"This is a shocking abuse of homeland security dollars," said Rep. Weiner. "I am all for protecting the beer industry in Milwaukee, but not with the same funds used to protect Wall Street and the United Nations from a terrorist attack."

Unfortunately, the pot of anti-terror funds is also consistently shrinking. “High risk areas" competed for a total of $765 million in grants in 2006. This is $90 million less than last year-a 10.5% decrease. New York City has been on a rollercoaster with respect to these homeland security grants. The City will receive $124.5 million in 2006 according to today's announcement, compared with $207.5 million in 2005 and only $47 million in 2004.

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