Is this the end of the federal gravy train of funding? We have been riding the Federal Money Train (Does Amtrak deliver the cash?) since 2003 and before. Much of the homeland security funding has already shrunk considerably, but if these proposals hold true, they are going to shrink even further. The information below comes from the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), which will be meeting this week. You can expect the representatives of all those states in attendance will hit the trail up to Congress to explain what these cuts will mean to the programs in place today. Might states and local jurisdictions begin to have to fund their own programs and not rely on the federal government for the majority of their financial support?
Absent a really big disaster to throw a spotlight on the importance of disaster readiness and resilience, we could see significant cuts in a broad variety of programs that have funded: all the equipment that has been purchased; some planning, training and exercises; and, for many a jurisdiction, staffing for their programs. On this last item, staffing, this is where I've seen most jurisdictions retreat to (within the grant guidance) in recent years — trying to hang on to capabilities that come with people.
Here's the summary from NEMA: (P.S. Don't slit your wrists yet — this is only the first salvo of the war of words that is yet to come.)
The President’s FY18 Budget Blueprint (or “skinny budget”) was released by OMB at 7 a.m. You can read the full budget, but I’ve provided the significant bullets below. This is much less detailed than the leaked version we got two weeks ago, but it sounds like they are taking a similar road. The DHS section starts on page 23.
Eliminates or reduces state and local grant funding by $667 million for programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that are either unauthorized by Congress, such as FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, or that must provide more measurable results and ensure the federal government is not supplanting other stakeholders’ responsibilities, such as the Homeland Security Grant Program. For that reason, the budget also proposes establishing a 25 percent non-federal cost match for FEMA preparedness grant awards that currently require no cost match. This is the same cost-sharing approach as FEMA’s disaster recovery grants. The activities and acquisitions funded through these grant programs are primarily state and local functions. **Note: This budget document does not detail the percentage cuts to specific grant programs. The leaked version recommended 25 percent cut to SHSGP, CVE and a 20 percent to EMPG, PDM among others.
Restructures selected user fees for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to ensure that the cost of government services is not subsidized by taxpayers who do not directly benefit from those programs. The budget proposes to raise the Passenger Security Fee to recover 75 percent of the cost of TSA aviation security operations. The budget proposes eliminating the discretionary appropriation for the NFIP’s Flood Hazard Mapping Program, a savings of $190 million, to instead explore other more effective and fair means of funding flood mapping efforts.