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NY Reps. want meeting with Bush

Oct. 24, 2001 at 2:20 AM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Some members of the New York congressional delegation want to meet with President Bush to determine why less than half of the $20 billion he

promised will be allocated to aid New York City in the wake of the September terrorist attacks.

"To put us in the position of having to hold out a tin cup and beg for what has already been pledged, this is an incredible shame," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney.

"I am going to ask my colleagues to join me in requesting an immediate meeting with the president to review our situation in New York and our real

and urgent need for adequate federal aid in recovery efforts and economic stimulus."

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York City, agreed with Maloney that the city is being shortchanged.

According to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriation released by the federal Office of Management and Budget, only $9.8 billion of the original $20 billion package is being appropriated for relief and recovery efforts.

On Sept. 18, President Bush signed a measure approving $40 billion in disaster relief and military spending, according to Maloney.

"Twenty billion was specified in the emergency appropriation for disaster-recovery activities and assistance to affected areas, of which the

vast majority was to go directly to helping New York," Maloney said.

"The original $20 billion was well understood to be a minimum, not a ceiling, for federal aid to New York, but now the OMB has turned that upside

down."

For example, $7 billion has been the estimated cost to clear rubble and steel from the 16-acre site where the seven buildings of the World Trade

Center once stood, Maloney said.

According to the White House, of the funding pledged, $2 billion has been released to Federal Disaster Management Administration for emergency response and debris removal and $500 million has been released for Small Business Administration loans, medical services, and dislocated worker assistance.

There's a lot of competition for money now: the military operation,increased security and fighting anthrax and bioterrorist threats, a congressional source told United Press International.

To help cover the initial costs of the rescue and recovery at the World Trade Center, New York City sold $1 billion in bonds to meet immediate

cleanup and relief needs. New York City is cutting its agencies' budgets by 15 percent.

In addition to the $20 billion pledged by the federal government Gov. George Pataki has requested $54 billion to "Rebuild NY -- Renew America" -- an amount almost 70 percent of

the state's annual budget of $80 billion.

"This was not only an attack on our freedoms and the American way of life, but an evil attempt to cripple the American economy by striking our nation's financial capital New York City," the governor said.

The state of New York is projecting that it will lose about $10 billion in revenues in the next two years from income, business and sales taxes as a

result of the businesses lost in Lower Manhattan as well as the 125,000 people put out of work. In addition, the state is expecting to need $100

million for additional security for state landmarks, state buildings, nuclear plants, airports and water supplies.

The state has enacted a hiring freeze and has told state agencies to expect budget cuts. Cities such as Buffalo, N.Y., had expected aid for its declining economy to the tune of $48 million, but the state has indicated it may not be able to help following the changes brought on by the attacks.

Buffalo has already begun laying off city workers and more than 500 employees of the Buffalo public school system are expected to be laid off or not hired.

New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall has said that state and local governments will have to make up $300 million in lost sales tax revenue in

the nest two years, as well as having to pay more for pensions benefits for their workers.

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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