What Obama budget plan might mean for LIBy REID J. EPSTEIN
February 15, 2011
President Barack Obama's proposed budget represents a mixed bag for Long Island and the region, hiking funding for some homeland security projects, but also leaving many programs with cuts or no increases, members of Congress said.
The 2012 proposal, released Monday, includes cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and Community Development Block Grants, while increasing funding for some anti-terror programs.
Following are key areas of the proposal that could affect Long Island and the region:
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) estimated that the Obama budget would increase New York City's share of the Urban Area Security Initiative - which funds security cameras, license-plate readers and radiation detectors in midtown and lower Manhattan - by $14.6 million, to a total of $165.5 million.
The budget also would add $18 million to the state's share of federal mass transit and port security funds, and $6.4 million for the Securing the Cities program, designed to help the NYPD protect the city from a dirty bomb or nuclear attack.
"This administration has decided not to take a meat ax and cut everything by X percent and [instead] look at things that work and try to augment things that work," Schumer said.
Unlike in past years, when the Long Island delegation could reinstate defunded projects through earmarks, new rules in the GOP-controlled House forbid the practice.
Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights) said the Obama budget proposal allots $9 million to the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults in Sands Point. That's the same amount the center got this year, and due to increasing expenses, amounts to a cut, Ackerman said.
Without earmarks, federal bureaucrats will control more of how such money is distributed nationwide.
"People are going to rue the day that we did away with earmarks," Ackerman said.
NEXT UP: NEW GOP CUTS FOR 2011
Apart from Obama's 2012 budget, the House this week will consider a continuing budget resolution that would slash federal spending by $64 billion in 2011.
Reps. Peter King (R-Seaford) and Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) Monday wrote to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) urging him to reinstate $400 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, $200 million in security grants for the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North, $150 million to Amtrak and an unstated amount to the COPS law enforcement program.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) also wrote Boehner, urging him to restore a $500 million sewer grant for Glen Cove and a $300-million sewer grant for Nassau County.
And Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) said he feared a 20 percent funding cut for Brookhaven National Laboratory should the GOP budget proposal become law.
Boehner's spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.