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New Jersey Objects to Anti-Terror Funding Cuts

August 04, 2004|Thomas S. Mulligan | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey complained to President Bush on Tuesday that his state would be disproportionately hurt by proposed cuts in federal funding for anti-terrorism efforts, just as New Jersey's threat level was rising.

In a letter to the president, McGreevey, a Democrat, noted that New Jersey also bore the responsibility -- and the increasing expense -- of helping to protect and assist New York City during extraordinary events, such as the Republican National Convention at the end of the month.

"However," McGreevey wrote, "while your administration has dedicated approximately $82 million to New York City for RNC security preparations, New Jersey has yet to receive any additional funding -- even though our law enforcement agencies play a major role in the region's counterterrorism operations."

McGreevey's complaint came two days after the federal government upgraded five northern New Jersey counties to high alert status in response to warnings naming the Newark headquarters of Prudential Financial Inc. as one of five prominent buildings targeted by Al Qaeda for possible attack.

The governor called on Bush "to immediately address New Jersey's outstanding request for reconsider- ation of your extreme Homeland Security budget cuts, as well as our request for increased Homeland Security funding to New Jersey overall."

Bush's proposed fiscal 2005 budget calls for reductions in one domestic security program that would slash direct aid to New Jersey to $44 million from $55.4 million, McGreevey said.

A large amount in this year's budget proposal was shifted from state grants to a program focusing on cities with large populations and prime terrorist targets, a Homeland Security Department spokeswoman said.

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