NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

States Try to Reconcile Security Needs with Budgets

June 2, 2003

Each time the federal government raises the terrorism alert, state officials try to shave some costs off outlays for compliance. State officials in charge of security say they are weighing the terrorism threat against the worst budget shortages in 50 years -- and that they are learning to use their resources more intelligently.

  • Wisconsin has begun deploying additional police forces only around critical sites like water plants.
  • Missouri no longer posts officers major bridges in St. Louis and Kansas City, as it did during the Iraq war.
  • Minnesota authorities with responsibilities for surveillance of the Canadian border report they have suspended patrols along a 60-mile swath of border.

While other jurisdictions search for ways to pare expenditures, Washington, D.C., and New York City continue to foot hefty preparedness bills -- which observers say reflects the fact that they have the funds to pay for them.

Some people are reacting to the latest warnings as they would to a weather forecast: the closer the storm seems, the more likely they are to prepare.

Source: Associated Press, "States Moderating Response to Upgraded Alerts," New York Times, May 24, 2003.


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