state grants & first responders

Issue in Brief

Responding to criticism that homeland security grants don't necessarily go where they're needed most, there's a push in Congress to change how state homeland security grants - also known as "first responder" money - are divvied up.

Now all states get a minimum of 0.75% of federal first responder funding - which added up to a total of $3.6 billion in 2005. What's left over gets doled out according to risk level and need.

Action in 2005-2006

The House and Senate both had proposals to re-route dollars to states with higher risks and higher populations. In the formula proposed by the House, HR 1544, each state would get a minimum base of 0.25% of the funding. States with international borders and waterways would get 0.45% and the rest would go to high risk spots. The Senate bill, S 21, would have divided funds first based on population, with states getting from 0.55% to 3% of the total funding. Like the House bill, the rest of the money would then get directed to high risk areas.

Steps in 2007

As part of its promise to catch Congress up to all of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations, the House voted in January to grant each state at least 0.25% (or 0.45% if they meet basic "high risk" criteria), with the rest of funding being divvied up solely by risk. The Senate is likely to vote on a new formula the week of March 5, but their bill may look like the Senate bill from 2006, with states guaranteed 0.55% of funding.

Meanwhile, at Homeland Security head quarters...

In January, 2006 the New York Times reported that Homeland Security had a new formula of its own for awarding high risk aid; $765 million out of a total pot of $3 billion would go to high risk cities. The final numbers for how much funding would be funneled out to states were released in June 2006, creating a field day of state griping. (WP) See cJ's Homeland Security fact page for how states made out. A second wave of local funding came in September, 2006, granting cities $191 million primarily for transportation system security. (WP)

Mysteriously, the Washington Post reported in January, 2007 that Homeland Security was re-tweaking its funding system again - yet, at the end of the day, high risk cities would continue to get the same proportion of funds. (WP)
According to Congress Daily and the Washington Post, out of a total of $1.7 billion for state and local grants, $750 million would go to the "Urban Area Security Initiative."

the breakdown

Below is a breakdown of federal spending per capita in 2007, taken from DHS (pdf) and Census numbers.

$2.2

Alabama

$4.7

Louisiana

$2.3

South Carolina

$4.8

Pennsylvania

$2.3

Iowa

$5.0

Idaho

$2.4

Mississippi

$5.0

Missouri

$2.5

Arkansas

$5.1

Texas

$2.6

Kansas

$5.3

Massachusetts

$2.6

Kentucky

$5.4

Maine

$2.8

North Carolina

$5.4

New Hampshire

$2.8

Utah

$5.7

Arizona

$2.9

Connecticut

$5.7

Maryland

$3.1

Wisconsin

$6.5

California

$3.2

Tennessee

$6.6

Illinois

$3.7

New Mexico

$6.9

New Jersey

$3.7

Indiana

$7.8

Montana

$3.8

Ohio

$7.9

Nevada

$3.9

Michigan

$8.8

Delaware

$3.9

Nebraska

$8.8

South Dakota

$3.9

West Virginia

$9.2

Hawaii

$3.9

Minnesota

$10.0

Alaska

$4.0

Oklahoma

$10.6

New York

$4.0

Colorado

$10.9

Rhode Island

$4.2

Oregon

$11.7

North Dakota

$4.2

Virginia

$11.7

Vermont

$4.3

Georgia

$14.0

Wyoming

$4.4

Washington

$120.0

DC

$4.6

Florida

 

 

more reading:

Updated March 5, 2007

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