What level of government really commits the most resources to protecting the American homeland?

Heritage Foundation Visiting Fellow Matt A. Mayer looked at the numbers for 111 state and local jurisdictions (An Analysis of Federal, State, and Local Homeland Security Budgets) and found that from 2000 to 2007 the vast majority of state and local homeland security funds came from state and local governments, not Washington, D.C.

Here is what he concluded: “Federal homeland security grants represent only a small portion of the yearly state and local spending on homeland security, ranging from a high of 17.7 percent in 2004 in North Carolina to a low of 0.1 percent in 2001 in Arizona. Even given its unenviable designation as the terrorists’ top target, New York City’s portion of federal homeland security funds never exceeded 5 percent from 2000 to 2007.” Despite this reality, the focus remains on the yearly federal homeland security grants allocated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security each year.

With these federal funds come the strings of mandates, reporting requirements, and other useless bureaucratic red tape. Governors, mayors, and other state and local elected officials need to spend less time with their hands extended horizontally to Washington, D.C., and take back the mantle of leadership entrusted to them under the Constitution.

Matt Mayer

Matt A. Mayer is President of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Ohio’s premier free market think tank, and a Visiting Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Mayer served as a senior official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under its first leader, Tom Ridge, and his successor, Michael Chertoff. In that post he led the department's terrorism preparedness efforts and advised DHS leaders on policy and operational issues. He is the author of the 2009 book “Homeland Security and Federalism: Protecting America from Outside the Beltway,” which features a Foreword by former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III.

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