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The Effects of Budget Shifts - Essay Example

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Summary
On September 11th, 2001 America lost its innocence. No of us, in our lifetimes, had ever known the insecurity that we collectively felt that day. We had believed until that point in time we were safe and secure. We knew that war and killing was happening in the world, but it was never here on our own shores…
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The Effects of Budget Shifts

Download file to see previous pages... None of us at that point imagined the far reaching effects of that day. The concrete and twisted metal may be gone now from Ground Zero, but we are still left to clean up the remainder of the rubble that was left in its wake. We are faced with too few dollars and too much to do. 9/11 and its aftermath has forced us to shift from concentrating on routine law enforcement functions to that of developing and sustaining expensive anti-terrorism programs. The already strained California budget needs to address both funding for anti-terrorism and meeting the needs of its citizens. The question becomes how do we balance both and how has this shift impacted the people of California.
At the onset of researching this topic it was necessary to understand the current climate of the California residents and how they view the impact the increased anti-terrorism initiatives have had on their lives. I have found numerous articles addressing the current budget crisis as it relates to anti-terrorism program expenditures. Following are several examples representing the climate since the initiatives have been launched.
September 5, 2004 an article appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. It stated that "officials have used federal anti-terrorism money to purchase equipment and cover police work not directly related to the war on terror. As a result, nearly half of California's security funding through the last fiscal year, about $128 million, went to areas outside the five counties with the state's top 10 terrorist targets. Almost $8 million flowed to counties with no targets whatsoever." (Newspapers: California, n.p.) The article went on to say that there were no policies in place to direct local agencies on how appropriated money should be spent. Even more frightening the articled continued "Although federal spending for homeland security is expected to climb over the next five years to $27 billion, emergency first responders could require as much as four times that amount, experts say. But Congress may not make that available if it determines that state and local officials have spent the funding on needs other than protecting against terrorism." (Newspapers: California, 2004, n.p.) With spiraling costs and a lack of direction by federal government on what they consider appropriate, expenditures could force California further into financial crisis.
It appears that there is a severe lack of coordination in the dispensing of federal aid to states in support of anti-terrorism programs. It was reported in The Daily Californian October 6, 2004 that "The Department of Homeland Security has made more than $175 million in grants available to California in 2004. But some local emergency response officials said red tape attached to the department's grants has needlessly hindered their work." (Wohlsen, n.p.) To make matters worse the article said that often agencies must first pay for the anti-terrorism programs or equiptment out of their own budget and then wait for reimbursement from the federal government. This often creates additional problems as the amount of money needed often exceeds the funds that these agencies ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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