Your tax dollars at work

Remember when Homeland Security officials promised a new grant-steering system would be put in place to ensure those areas most likely to be targeted by terrorists would receive the lion's share of anti-terrorism funding? Well, that didn't work out so well:

The net effect was that the grant to New York City, which was $207.6million last year, will drop to $124.5 million this year, whileWashington will see its grant dollars drop a similar 40 percent, to$46.5 million this year.

Meanwhile, the gravely threatened locales of Omaha, Charlotte, and Louisville saw 40-percent gains in their anti-terrorism funding. Must be all those Louisville Sluggers--the terrorists know that once they destory the hit-sticks of the national pasttime, they will break the American spirit and bring victory to their cause.

The new-and-improved system, you see, now incorporates not only an esoteric risk-assessment calculus into the decision-making process, but also an evaluation of cities' spending plans. Homeland Security doesn't like your plan, you don't get the cash.

Senior department officials, in explaining the cut in funding for NewYork during a private briefing for Mr. King [Peter King, R-NY], made clear that they wereunimpressed with the city's spending plan, he said.

It gets better.

Overall, New York State will get $183.7 million, which is a 20 percentdrop from last year. That means New York State's per capita share ofgrant funds, which totals $2.78 per person, will drop to an even lowerlevel compared to some rural states, like Wyoming, which will get$14.83 per person this year.

Wyoming must be safe. So, what's behind the teeter-tottering of anti-terrorism funding for our states and cities? Why did New York and D.C. receive such big cuts? Homeland Security official Tracy Henke wasn't forthcoming.

"It does not mean in any way that the risk in New York is any differentor changed or any lower," she said, in responding to one of the manyquestions on this point. "It means that we have additional information,additional clarity. Our risk analysis has been a maturing process. Itis the best we currently have."

Just ask the fine citizens of Wyoming.

Grant Gallicho joined Commonweal as an intern and was an associate editor for the magazine until 2015. 

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