Monday, October 16, 2006

Homeland "Abuse Fund" or Homeland Security Fund?

EDITORIALS (Hartford Courant, Connecticut)

More Emergency Funds

October 16, 2006
Connecticut residents could probably accept the fact that every state in the union will receive 4 percent reductions in basic homeland security grants in the 2007 fiscal year.

But the state would be unfairly shortchanged under a new formula that distributes a projected $770 million in Urban Area Security Initiative grants around the nation based on the chance of a terrorist attack.

Until last year, urban area security grants had been distributed to states based on population size.

Because they regard the state as a low risk, officials at the Department of Homeland Security are likely to cut Connecticut's assistance for emergency preparations from a high of $52.1 million in fiscal 2004 to an estimated $15.4 million in the fiscal year ending in 2007. Connecticut's attempts use those funds to improve communications among towns in the event of a major emergency - so-called interoperability - could be severely hampered as a result.

Homeland Security's assessment of risk to Connecticut fails to take into consideration a number of factors, such as the fact that Connecticut is home to two nuclear power plants, a Navy submarine base and shipping ports in New Haven, New London and Bridgeport.

It also ignores the targets that Connecticut presents in its submarine- and aircraft-building industry and its proximity to New York City, where the 9/11 attacks occurred.

Surely, Sen. Joe Lieberman, who sits on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Chris Shays, who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, can secure more than $15.4 million.

There is no sound reason for Connecticut to expect a decreasing share of an increasing pot of Urban Area Security Initiative money.

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There is an overabundance of police, secret investigators, and informants on the streets. Not a dollar is left unviewed. The Homeland Security fund is just a tax dollar waste rights taking farce.

-Steven G. Erickson a.k.a. blogger Vikingas

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