Governor sees welfare as funding model
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Mar 03, 2002
South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow intrigued several visiting Capitol Hill
lawmakers last week by proposing that federal funding for anti-terrorism
efforts be modeled after welfare reform, with states given choices on how
to use funds for homeland security.
Although some people have pushed for more community control, Janklow,
speaking Feb. 26 at the National Governors Association (www.nga.org) winter
meeting in Washington, D.C., said there's "no way realistically" for local
communities to apply for homeland security funding because they don't have
the resources or expertise of larger municipalities.
Under welfare reform, the federal government provided block grants to
states, which took different approaches to offering benefits. Janklow said
that by applying the welfare reform model to homeland security, states become
"laboratories" to improve the first line of defense.
President Bush has proposed $3.5 billion to help the nation's first
responders police, firefighters and emergency ambulance personnel develop
plans, train employees, buy equipment and conduct regular exercises. Under
the plan, 75 percent of the funds will go directly to local governments,
while 25 percent will be given to the states.
U.S. Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who spoke to
the governors on varied issues, said they would support the flexibility
of homeland security funds. Portman said funds should be aimed at regional
solutions as well.
Another invited speaker, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), said states should
be free to "implement laboratory creative responses. To not do that would