407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481  NJLM logo 
William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director
TESTIMONY OF
HON. GLEN D. GILMORE, MAYOR, HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)
DEPUTY CHAIR, LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES'
HOMETOWN SECURITY TASK FORCE
AND MEMBER, LEAGUE EXECUTIVE BOARD
ON FIRST RESPONDER ISSUES
FOR THE
ASSEMBLY FEDERAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE
THURSDAY, MAY 27, 2004
10:00 A.M.
COMMITTEE ROOM 9
STATE HOUSE ANNEX
TRENTON, NJ


Good morning, Chairman Gusciora and members of the Committee. Thank you for giving me and the League of Municipalities the opportunity to appear before you here today.

With the sole exceptions of New York and Virginia, no state suffered the human tragedy of the September 11 atrocities more than New Jersey. And few have felt the economic impact of our War on Terrorism more.

In the hours, days and weeks after the September 11 attacks, our law enforcement provided protection for vital systems and infrastructure. Local leaders here and in other states assessed vulnerabilities. To the extent we were able, with limited resources, we made sure we were as ready as we could be for the type of attacks that the federal government warned us about. Here in the Garden State, from the very beginning, we have dealt not only in planning for possibilities, but in reacting to actual events. From the assistance that we provided to the City of New York, through the anthrax attacks, New Jersey local government has been willing to shoulder more than its fair share in our war on terrorism.

These steps, which we took in the name of national homeland security, have not been cheap. They have eaten into local resources - local tax dollars earmarked for other needed public services and programs. It has been a challenge in terms of marshalling the staff, equipment, and other resources that we need. In the year ahead, the challenge will grow if municipalities don't get the resources they need.

America's hometowns are the targets of terrorism, the frontlines. And local leaders have risen to the occasion - all around the country, including here in New Jersey. Still, we have not always been treated as full partners by the federal government.

This is not a partisan problem. It will not be solved by partisan rhetoric. In fact, last year, it was a bipartisan effort, involving every one of our State's Federal Representatives that finally won $14.2 million in supplemental appropriations for New Jersey local emergency response agencies. And, earlier this year, Governor McGreevey went out of his way to recognize Secretary Ridge for his sensitivity to the unfairness of funding formulas that ignore New Jersey's critical role and crucial needs in American Homeland Security.


Bipartisanship will continue to be needed in this, as in so many matters subject to the Federal budget. Also needed will be a healthy respect for the role of local government in our federal republic.
Just last week, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge addressed the 79th Annual Red Cross Convention in St. Louis, Mo.
"Homeland Security," said Secretary Ridge, "cannot begin and end at the doors of our federal department building in Washington, D.C. Washington can be expected to lead, but we cannot, nor should not, micro-manage the protection of our country. Instead, it must be a priority in every city, every neighborhood, and every home across America.

… In the end, first responders, emergency personnel, local officials, and citizens on the ground understand the needs of their individual communities better than anyone. And they need to be actively engaged in the security decisions and plans for those communities."
In March, Secretary Ridge put together a Homeland Security Funding Task Force composed of state, county, city, and tribal representatives, to examine the funding process and ensure that Department of Homeland Security funds move quickly to local first responders. That Task Force includes among its members the New Jersey League of Municipalities' immediate Past President, Mayor Chris Bollwage of Elizabeth.

These encouraging signs of bipartisanship and intergovernmental cooperation cannot, however, let us rest assured of the sufficiency of federal funding for New Jersey municipal first responders.


On Monday, February 2, 2004, President Bush sent, to Congress, his budget proposal for the Federal Government's next Fiscal Year. The proposed Budget sets the Federal Government on a course to cut the annual deficit in half over the next five Fiscal Years. If successful, Washington would need to borrow less than half as much ($237 billion) in FY 2009, rather than the projected $521 billion for FY 2004, the current Fiscal Year. To achieve that goal, the President intends to limit overall discretionary spending increases to less than a 4 percent increase, next year. The budget divides discretionary spending into three components - defense spending (slated to increase by 7 percent), homeland security (projected to grow by 10 percent), and all other (which would increase by 0.5 percent, under the proposal).

Some specific programmatic cuts included:

  • Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funding would suffer an enormous cut, from $756 million in 2004 to $44 million under the proposed Bush budget, leading to layoffs of police officers;

  • Local law enforcement grants would decline by 40 percent (The Local Law Enforcement Block Grant programs would be eliminated and merged with Byrne Grants into Justice Assistance Grants, for which cities and towns would compete with states).

  • Homeland security funding for local governments and first responders would suffer a net loss including an $805 million cut in the First Responder Initiatives. This includes a $975 million cut in State Formula Grants, counterbalanced by a $558 million increase in the Urban Areas Security Initiative.
The President's Budget proposal did include two encouraging developments in Homeland Security funding. The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) will have its funding doubled, to approximately $1.45 billion. And it will shift from arbitrary formula allocations to a system based on actual risk assessment. The old system tended to discriminate against New Jersey, to the benefit of geographically large, but less populous Western States.

In light of all this, we salute you for your work with the Administration, with Senators Corzine and Lautenberg and with all the members of our delegation in the House of Representatives on hometown security funding.

We fully support the resolution before you. And we thank you for your attention to this matter.

  NJLM - Mayor Glen D. Gilmore's comments on First Responder Issues
407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481  NJLM logo 
William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director
TESTIMONY OF
HON. GLEN D. GILMORE, MAYOR, HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)
DEPUTY CHAIR, LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES'
HOMETOWN SECURITY TASK FORCE
AND MEMBER, LEAGUE EXECUTIVE BOARD
ON FIRST RESPONDER ISSUES
FOR THE
ASSEMBLY FEDERAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE
THURSDAY, MAY 27, 2004
10:00 A.M.
COMMITTEE ROOM 9
STATE HOUSE ANNEX
TRENTON, NJ


Good morning, Chairman Gusciora and members of the Committee. Thank you for giving me and the League of Municipalities the opportunity to appear before you here today.

With the sole exceptions of New York and Virginia, no state suffered the human tragedy of the September 11 atrocities more than New Jersey. And few have felt the economic impact of our War on Terrorism more.

In the hours, days and weeks after the September 11 attacks, our law enforcement provided protection for vital systems and infrastructure. Local leaders here and in other states assessed vulnerabilities. To the extent we were able, with limited resources, we made sure we were as ready as we could be for the type of attacks that the federal government warned us about. Here in the Garden State, from the very beginning, we have dealt not only in planning for possibilities, but in reacting to actual events. From the assistance that we provided to the City of New York, through the anthrax attacks, New Jersey local government has been willing to shoulder more than its fair share in our war on terrorism.

These steps, which we took in the name of national homeland security, have not been cheap. They have eaten into local resources - local tax dollars earmarked for other needed public services and programs. It has been a challenge in terms of marshalling the staff, equipment, and other resources that we need. In the year ahead, the challenge will grow if municipalities don't get the resources they need.

America's hometowns are the targets of terrorism, the frontlines. And local leaders have risen to the occasion - all around the country, including here in New Jersey. Still, we have not always been treated as full partners by the federal government.

This is not a partisan problem. It will not be solved by partisan rhetoric. In fact, last year, it was a bipartisan effort, involving every one of our State's Federal Representatives that finally won $14.2 million in supplemental appropriations for New Jersey local emergency response agencies. And, earlier this year, Governor McGreevey went out of his way to recognize Secretary Ridge for his sensitivity to the unfairness of funding formulas that ignore New Jersey's critical role and crucial needs in American Homeland Security.


Bipartisanship will continue to be needed in this, as in so many matters subject to the Federal budget. Also needed will be a healthy respect for the role of local government in our federal republic.
Just last week, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge addressed the 79th Annual Red Cross Convention in St. Louis, Mo.
"Homeland Security," said Secretary Ridge, "cannot begin and end at the doors of our federal department building in Washington, D.C. Washington can be expected to lead, but we cannot, nor should not, micro-manage the protection of our country. Instead, it must be a priority in every city, every neighborhood, and every home across America.

… In the end, first responders, emergency personnel, local officials, and citizens on the ground understand the needs of their individual communities better than anyone. And they need to be actively engaged in the security decisions and plans for those communities."
In March, Secretary Ridge put together a Homeland Security Funding Task Force composed of state, county, city, and tribal representatives, to examine the funding process and ensure that Department of Homeland Security funds move quickly to local first responders. That Task Force includes among its members the New Jersey League of Municipalities' immediate Past President, Mayor Chris Bollwage of Elizabeth.

These encouraging signs of bipartisanship and intergovernmental cooperation cannot, however, let us rest assured of the sufficiency of federal funding for New Jersey municipal first responders.


On Monday, February 2, 2004, President Bush sent, to Congress, his budget proposal for the Federal Government's next Fiscal Year. The proposed Budget sets the Federal Government on a course to cut the annual deficit in half over the next five Fiscal Years. If successful, Washington would need to borrow less than half as much ($237 billion) in FY 2009, rather than the projected $521 billion for FY 2004, the current Fiscal Year. To achieve that goal, the President intends to limit overall discretionary spending increases to less than a 4 percent increase, next year. The budget divides discretionary spending into three components - defense spending (slated to increase by 7 percent), homeland security (projected to grow by 10 percent), and all other (which would increase by 0.5 percent, under the proposal).

Some specific programmatic cuts included:

  • Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funding would suffer an enormous cut, from $756 million in 2004 to $44 million under the proposed Bush budget, leading to layoffs of police officers;

  • Local law enforcement grants would decline by 40 percent (The Local Law Enforcement Block Grant programs would be eliminated and merged with Byrne Grants into Justice Assistance Grants, for which cities and towns would compete with states).

  • Homeland security funding for local governments and first responders would suffer a net loss including an $805 million cut in the First Responder Initiatives. This includes a $975 million cut in State Formula Grants, counterbalanced by a $558 million increase in the Urban Areas Security Initiative.
The President's Budget proposal did include two encouraging developments in Homeland Security funding. The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) will have its funding doubled, to approximately $1.45 billion. And it will shift from arbitrary formula allocations to a system based on actual risk assessment. The old system tended to discriminate against New Jersey, to the benefit of geographically large, but less populous Western States.

In light of all this, we salute you for your work with the Administration, with Senators Corzine and Lautenberg and with all the members of our delegation in the House of Representatives on hometown security funding.

We fully support the resolution before you. And we thank you for your attention to this matter.

 

 

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