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Thread: Unfair Share of Security Money

  1. #1

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    March 30, 2003
    New York Officials Complain of Unfair Share of Security Money
    By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ

    WASHINGTON, March 30 Iowa is set to get nearly $8 million in homeland security money from Washington in the coming weeks, with a chunk of it possibly going to train veterinarians, cattlemen and others working with livestock to spot signs of biological attacks.

    Wyoming will receive nearly $5 million, but officials there are still trying to figure out how to spend it. "It's just so early at this point," said Lara Azar, a spokeswoman for Gov. Dave Freudentha.

    Idaho's roughly $5.8 million share of the nearly $600 million pot of federal money will in part be spent on emergency drills and exercises, though the homeland security agency there acknowledges that it has no intelligence suggesting that the state has been singled out for attack.

    The list goes on, across 50 states. But to politicians in New York, the state hardest hit by terrorists, the way the federal government is doling out this money makes no sense.

    Even as New York officials take care not to disparage the concerns of other states, they say the federal government's financing arrangement apportioning millions of dollars to every state, regardless of known threats or vulnerabilities does not recognize New York's special status and pressing needs at a time when the White House says that there is an increased likelihood of terrorist attacks.

    It remains unclear how New York will fare as Congress prepares to enact yet another round of spending for homeland security. But the complaints of city and state officials are beginning to get the attention of some influential people in Washington. Testifying on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Tom Ridge, the secretary of homeland security, said the current aid formula did not adequately recognize the needs of places where the threat was perceived to be greatest.

    While not specifically mentioning New York, Mr. Ridge said: "I've concluded that the formula we've used in the past shouldn't be the formula we use in the future, because it doesn't take into consideration some of the special needs that certain communities have and certain states have that are substantially greater than others."

    In the last round of spending approved by the president and Congress last month, New York will receive about $26.5 million, according to officials in New York. Only Texas and California will receive more.

    But New York officials complain that the $26.5 million works out to $1.40 per resident, far less than the national state average of $3.29 per person, placing it behind every state except California. The concerns of officials in New York were deepened last week when the president proposed a homeland security budget that uses the same funding formula that they had been complaining about. The president's plan calls for $1.5 billion to be distributed to states and localities by the Department of Homeland Security.

    According to city officials, that proposal calls for providing only $32 million to New York State, even as the city is spending $5 million a week to be on a heightened state of alert. New York City officials had requested $900 million.

    The president's plan also calls for another $500 million, money that the Bush administration says states like New York can use to reinforce bridges, tunnels and other landmarks. It is not clear how much New York will receive from that money.

    "When the country goes to threat level orange, New York goes to red alert. Why is that?" said Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from Manhattan. "Well, it is my understanding that the vast majority of the `chatter,' the basis for setting the threat level, is about New York. This while the Bush administration is giving the vast majority of security funds to the rest of the country."

    New York lawmakers, including Gov. George E. Pataki, who broke ranks with the White House last week when he accused Washington of shortchanging New York, are pushing Congress to change the president's proposal. Some note that the state gets substantially less than the nation's other presumably major target, Washington.

    The president's budget request, for example, calls for a special appropriation of $125 million to defend the capital, according to New York officials who are reviewing the document.

    Now both Mr. Pataki and Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, have had discussions with Mr. Ridge over how to get more money for New York's antiterrorism efforts, either by tweaking the formula or just setting aside a lump sum, as was done for Washington, according to officials here and in New York.

    But any effort to provide more money to New York, a heavily Democratic state, may meet with resistance in a Congress dominated by Republicans from other regions of the country, New York officials acknowledge.

    States are demanding their share of the pie, much in the same way that they demand a share of federal highway aid.

    Mr. Schumer said that New York is caught between the Bush administration's desire to keep a lid on overall spending and the demands of other states to get as much money as they can.

    He says that is unfair. "New York City doesn't ask for a share of Idaho's farm subsidies," Mr. Schumer said. "They shouldn't try to grab a share of our high-risk, antiterrorism funding." Delaware, for example, is set to get about $5.2 million, or $6.62 per person, which will help state and local officials buy, among other things, equipment to detect hazardous materials, protective suits and masks, and radios. Not only that, the money will be used to pay for emergency drills and exercises.

    "We need more money," said Rozanne Pack, a spokeswoman for the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. "We've already had mock exercises that have involved 500 people at a time."

    In Wyoming where officials expect about $5 million, or $9.78 per person the governor sent out a letter last week encouraging mayors, county commissioners, ambulance directors, fire chiefs, sheriffs, police chiefs, public works directors and hospital administrators to submit proposals on how they intend to use the money.

    "We're going to see how the applications shape up," Ms. Azar, a spokeswoman for the governor, said when asked how Wyoming intended to use its share of the money. "We haven't seen any applications yet."

    Iowa plans to spend part of its $7.7 million (or $2.62 per person) on, among other things, protecting livestock and crops. That means training farmers, along with state and local authorities, to identify chemical or biological agents that might be introduced into the food supply in a terrorist attack.

    Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa, a Democrat who is calling on the Bush administration to provide more homeland security money across the nation, suggested that protecting the nation's food supply was as important as, say, protecting major ports and borders.

    "If they taint the food in Iowa that's shipped to a restaurant in New York, does it really make a difference that New York got more money?" he asked.



    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  2. #2

    Default Unfair Share of Security Money

    New York has been pumping its tax money out into the US as a whole for decades. This certainly doesn't surprise no matter how illogical.

  3. #3

    Default Unfair Share of Security Money

    That's ridiculous and unbelivable. The state with one of America's largest population and we end up second to last! How sad. And then the government wonders why terroist attack New York City.

  4. #4

    Default Unfair Share of Security Money

    The two most likely targets or foreign terrorism (next to DC) are last and second-to-last. * I doubt Al-Qaeda has any intentions in Wyoming or Vermont. *They'll attack densely-populated symbols of American global hegemony -- NYC, DC, Hollywood (maybe Texas too). * I think the disparity in funding is more a symptom of our system of government than anything else.

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    Default Unfair Share of Security Money

    Well, Texas is third-to-last. *It only got two cents per person more than NYS did.

    ::sigh...:: *It's politics as usual, though. *Bush has little hope of winning New York in 2004, nor does he need it either. *If you'll notice, California's dead last on the population-to-funding ratio; they could run anybody on the Democratic ticket and still win. *Most of the states with a larger proportion of anti-terrorism funding are the tossups that could go to either party.

  6. #6

    Default Unfair Share of Security Money

    April 1, 2003
    A Red-Blue Terror Alert
    By PAUL KRUGMAN

    As recriminations fly over Operation Predicted Cakewalk, some commentators look back wistfully to the early post-Sept. 11 era, when or so they imagine the nation stood united against the terrorist threat. On my beat, that era was brief indeed: less than 48 hours after the atrocity, Congressional Republicans tried to exploit the event to pass a cut in the capital gains tax. But on national security issues, there was at first some real bipartisanship.

    What happened to that bipartisanship? It fell prey to two enduring prejudices of the right: its deep hostility to nonmilitary government spending, and its exaltation of the "heartland" over the great urban states.

    You might have expected the events of Sept. 11 to temper the right's opposition to some kinds of domestic spending. After thousands of Americans were killed by men armed only with box cutters, surely everyone would acknowledge that national security involves more than mere military might. But you would have been wrong. In a remarkable recent article titled "The 9/10 President," Jonathan Chait of The New Republic documents how the Bush administration has systematically neglected homeland security since 9/11. In its effort to keep spending down, the administration has repeatedly blocked proposals to enhance security at potential domestic targets like ports and nuclear plants.

    What Mr. Chait doesn't point out is the extent to which already inadequate antiterrorism spending has been focused on the parts of the country that need it least.

    I've written before about the myth of the heartland roughly speaking, the "red states," which voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election, as opposed to the "blue states," which voted for Al Gore. The nation's interior is supposedly a place of rugged individualists, unlike the spongers and whiners along the coasts. In reality, of course, rural states are heavily subsidized by urban states. New Jersey pays about $1.50 in federal taxes for every dollar it gets in return; Montana receives about $1.75 in federal spending for every dollar it pays in taxes.

    Any sensible program of spending on homeland security would at least partly redress this balance. The most natural targets for terrorism lie in or near great metropolitan areas; surely protecting those areas is the highest priority, right?

    Apparently not. Even in the first months after Sept. 11, Republican lawmakers made it clear that they would not support any major effort to rebuild or even secure New York. And now that anti-urban prejudice has taken statistical form: under the formula the Department of Homeland Security has adopted for handing out money, it spends 7 times as much protecting each resident of Wyoming as it does protecting each resident of New York.

    Here's how it works. In its main grant programs, the department makes no attempt to assess needs. Instead, each state receives a base of 0.75 percent of the total, regardless of its population; the rest is then allocated in proportion to population. This is a very good deal for states with small populations, like Wyoming or Montana. It's a very bad deal for states like California or New York, which receives only 4.7 percent of the money. And since New York and other big urban states remain the most likely targets of another major attack, it's a very bad deal for the country.

    Why adopt such a strange formula? Well, maybe it's not that strange: what it most resembles is the Electoral College, which also gives disproportionate weight (though not that disproportionate) to states with small populations. And with a few exceptions, small-population states are red states indeed, the small-state bias of the Electoral College is what allowed Mr. Bush to claim the White House despite losing the popular vote. It's hard not to suspect that the formula which makes absolutely no sense in terms of national security was adopted precisely because it caters to that same constituency. (To be fair, there's one big "red state" loser from the formula: Texas. But one of these days, sooner than most people think, Texas may well turn blue.)

    In other words, the allocation of money confirms Mr. Chait's point: even in a time of war a war that seems oddly unrelated to the terrorist threat the Bush administration isn't serious about protecting the homeland. Instead, it continues to subordinate U.S. security needs to its unchanged political agenda. *


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  7. #7

    Default Unfair Share of Security Money


  8. #8

    Default Unfair Share of Security Money

    Very interesting, Zippy. *It confirms a lot of stereotypes and intuitions that I had. *Do they have it grouped by education level?

  9. #9

    Default Unfair Share of Security Money

    Can't have that demographic on actual voting. Exit polls show vote was even by educational levels.

    Education is overrated.

    This was interesting:

    Which Quality Mattered Most?
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Gore * Bush * Buchanan *Nader
    Understands Issues * * 75 % * 19 % * *0 % * * *4 %
    Honest/Trustworthy * * 15 % * 80 % * *1 % * * *3 %
    Cares About People * * 63 % * 31 % * *1 % * * *5 %
    Has Experience * * * * * 82 % * 17 % * *0 % * * *1 %

  10. #10

    Default Unfair Share of Security Money

    April 2, 2003

    House Moves to Give Millions in Security Aid to New York

    By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ

    WASHINGTON, April 1 House Republicans today moved quickly to fulfill New York's request for tens of millions of dollars in federal aid to help pay for antiterrorism measures, after a fierce lobbying campaign by New York Republicans and Democrats.

    The Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee approved a measure that sets aside $700 million for New York, Washington and other localities across the country that are believed to be most vulnerable to attack.

    The aid package was included as part of a $74.7 billion spending bill that President Bush requested last week to pay for the war in Iraq and security measures around the country. The package still must go before the full House, where it is all but certain to pass. Then, it must be reconciled with a similar spending bill that is being put together in the Republican-led Senate.

    Nevertheless, today's action was a significant victory for New York lawmakers, who complained that the president's proposal shortchanged New York at a time when both the city and state are spending more than $12 million to secure streets, landmarks, subways, harbors, bridges and tunnels.

    The plan proposed by President Bush would have given New York about $32 million, far less than the $900 million that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had been seeking to shore up security in the city, according to New York lawmakers.

    The plan approved by the House committee today does not specify how much money New York will receive. But lawmakers here said it guarantees that New York will get a substantial share of the $700 million by stipulating that it must be allocated to states and localities with dense populations, high security costs and known vulnerabilities.

    The action came after days of intense negotiations among officials in the Bush administration, leaders on Capitol Hill, lobbyists for Gov. George E. Pataki and members of New York's Congressional delegation, chiefly Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat, and Representatives John E. Sweeney and James T. Walsh, two upstate Republicans on the Appropriations Committee.

    The negotiations reached a critical phase on Monday, prompting Mr. Bloomberg, a Republican, to rush to Washington that evening to make the city's case before influential Republicans on Capitol Hill.

    "New York has had a good day," Mr. Schumer said. "Are we going to get everything we wanted? No. But are we a lot better off than we were yesterday? For sure."

    Mr. Pataki's spokeswoman, Lisa Dewald Stoll, said the governor was still reviewing the details but "obviously this is an improvement." She added that the governor was also urging Congress to allow some of the money to be used to reimburse states like New York for costs they have incurred providing security to localities.

    The debate over money for New York now shifts to the Senate, where Mr. Schumer and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, also a New York Democrat, plan to introduce a measure that would set aside slightly more than $1 billion for New York and other states that are perceived to be at high risk of attack.

    In the round of homeland security money that Congress and the president approved last month, they point out, New York was given $26.5 million, a figure that works out to $1.40 a resident, far less than the national state average of $3.29 a person, placing it behind every state except California.

    The concerns of New York officials including Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Pataki, also a Republican were deepened last week when the president proposed divvying up about $1.5 billion in new security aid through the same formula that New York officials have been complaining about.

    The president's proposal prompted Mr. Pataki to take the unusual step of publicly breaking ranks with the White House. Mr. Pataki, who up to then had refused to criticize the president publicly, complained that the federal government had failed to give New York the money it needed to defend itself against future terrorist attacks.

    The measure approved today created a new pot of money for high-risk areas by squeezing money out of other programs the president proposed in his budget request last week, chiefly $450 million that states and localities could use to reinforce bridges, tunnels and landmarks.

    The measure passed in the House would give Tom Ridge, the secretary of homeland security, a major say in how the $700 million is spent. But New York lawmakers noted that the measure requires him to direct the money to states and localities facing a high risk of attack.

    Tonight, Edward Skyler, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, said the mayor was "encouraged by the actions of his committee today." He added, "The mayor will continue to work closely with leaders of the Congress so that homeland security funds are distributed based on need."


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  11. #11

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    November 19, 2003

    ABOUT NEW YORK

    The Bull's-Eye Versus the Pork Barrel

    By DAN BARRY

    LIFE in New York has its own math: a series of formulas to help inhabitants make sense of an urban environment that might lead to madness if dwelt upon too long.

    Rain + 4 p.m. = no taxis.

    Street corner + two blocks = Starbucks.

    Paris Hilton + nothing = Page Six.

    But what equation can address the fear of imminent terrorist attack in this city? How can New York's risk be quantified? And how can government possibly calculate the cost of securing everything from the subway system to that pizza place in the Port Authority?

    These disturbing questions may be exactly what compels one to find distraction in Ms. Hilton's latest reported antics. But they are not too daunting for the federal Department of Homeland Security, which actually has a formula for how to parcel out counterterrorism funds to cities like New York.

    To determine how to split $675 million among cities that are presumably "at risk," the federal agency did not apply the formula that seems most logical to those who live here, that being: New York + 9/11 + security intelligence + common sense = lots of money and keep it coming, because this is New York we're talking about.

    Instead, the agency used a formula that mixes facts and alchemy. It gave the most weight to a city's population density, lesser weight to critical infrastructure and, finally, the least weight to the gathered intelligence about credible threat. Agency officials explained that intelligence is mushier than the hard data of population figures.

    In the end, 50 cities were blessed last week with allocations from a program called the Urban Area Security Initiative. The New York region received the largest amount, $47 million, but city officials were not happy. Was New York only six times more likely to be attacked than Sacramento ($8 million)? Or just four times more likely than Pittsburgh ($11.9 million)?

    "The aid is not based on threat," one high-ranking city official said. "It's based on formulas that allow the government to spread it around the country. That's politics; that's not threat assessment."

    Yes, city officials say, New York has received $280 million since the program began, much more than what was given to the next largest recipient, Washington. But they argue that the city has the unwanted distinction of deserving it. It took the brunt of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it remains the financial center that Al Qaeda seems intent on bringing down and, for many in the world, it represents the United States. It also remains hot.

    JUST last month, a Pakistani immigrant from Columbus, Ohio ($8.7 million), was sentenced to 20 years in prison for plotting with Al Qaeda to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge. The story of the immigrant, Iyman Faris, remains unsettling, no matter how grandiose his plot. He met with Osama bin Laden, came to New York after 9/11, ate at a Pakistani restaurant near City Hall and scoped out the bridge for possible destruction. Again, after 9/11.

    Mr. Faris's famous assessment that "the weather is too hot" for such a terrorist endeavor may speak well of the Police Department's counterterrorism strategy. But that strategy costs money. The department spends $200 million a year on personnel costs alone for such efforts as increasing security at landmarks like the bridge.

    Representative Christopher Cox, a Republican from California who leads the Select Committee on Homeland Security, has criticized the grant formula used by the federal agency, and has proposed legislation to redefine the process to emphasize threat analysis. "Terrorism shouldn't be conducted through the same funding formulas that are used for paving roads," said his spokeswoman, Liz Tobias.

    But Josh Filler, who oversees state and local government coordination for the Department of Homeland Security, maintained that the formula is working well, and is "getting money to those areas with the greatest need and at greatest risk."

    Those areas include Louisville, Ky. ($8.9 million), which Mayor Jerry Abramson pointed out is the main air hub for the United Parcel Service. And Las Vegas ($10.5 million), which Sheriff Bill Young of Clark County, Nev., said has 250,000 tourists a day. And Baton Rouge, La. ($7.1 million), which JoAnne Moreau, its director of emergency preparedness, said has a concentration of oil refineries. "We have a lot of hazards," Ms. Moreau said.

    Baton Rouge deserves to be protected, of course, as do Louisville, Las Vegas and other cities. But most people there do not know what it is like to be in New York when things are jumpy again, and all you want to do is get out of the rain, find a Starbucks and read all about Paris Hilton.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  12. #12

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    January 15, 2004

    Mayor to Quadruple Size of Security Aid Request to Washington

    By MICHAEL COOPER

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg plans to call on the federal government to quadruple the amount of security money it sends to New York City when he unveils the outline of his third city budget today, a mayoral aide said yesterday.

    Mr. Bloomberg, who has long complained that the federal government shortchanges the city on homeland security money, plans to ask for $400 million, the aide said. The city received about $100 million in such aid last year, he said.

    In unveiling his budget proposal, Mr. Bloomberg will have to walk a fine line between spreading good news about the city's economy while still seeking help from Albany, municipal unions and Washington. He will also have to explain how he intends to close a nearly $2 billion budget gap for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

    "The message I am going to give tomorrow is upbeat but it is cautionary," Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference yesterday.

    For the mayor, who has sometimes been criticized by opponents for not being aggressive enough when it comes to seeking money from Albany and Washington, the demand for more federal money will be a slight departure in tone if not in substance.

    The city will ask the state to take over part of its Medicaid expenses, including all of the payments for the Child Health Plus insurance program, according to another aide. It will continue to press for initiatives the city has sought in the past, including a fifth pension tier for future employees that would pay less generous benefits.

    The mayor announced the biggest budget news last week when he said he would call for a $400 property tax rebate for the owners of one- to three-family homes, co-ops and condominiums, more or less wiping out the 18.5 percent property tax increase that he pushed through in 2002. That tax rebate would cost the city $250 million.

    Yesterday the mayor suggested that the rebate might become permanent, saying in an interview on WOR radio that "it is going to be an annual thing."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    Default Re: Unfair Share of Security Money

    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    Can't have that demographic on actual voting. Exit polls show vote was even by educational levels.

    Education is overrated.

    This was interesting:

    Which Quality Mattered Most?
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Gore * Bush * Buchanan *Nader
    Understands Issues * * 75 % * 19 % * *0 % * * *4 %
    Honest/Trustworthy * * 15 % * 80 % * *1 % * * *3 %
    Cares About People * * 63 % * 31 % * *1 % * * *5 %
    Has Experience * * * * * 82 % * 17 % * *0 % * * *1 %
    So Bush would make a good dog?

  14. #14

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    Only if he's housebroken.

  15. #15

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    February 3, 2004

    Antiterror Budget Rises, but Critics Say City Is Shortchanged

    By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 - The budget President Bush proposed on Monday would nearly double the pool of money that the federal government would set aside for the 2005 fiscal year to help defend New York City and other localities considered vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

    President Bush proposed to increase federal antiterrorism funds for so-called high-risk cities by $721 million, to $1.44 billion, according to city lawmakers reviewing the budget.

    But his proposal did not include a major change that New York lawmakers had been demanding in the federal budget: a strict limit on the number of cities entitled to the money. That means that the best New York can expect to receive is $94 million, a figure that New York lawmakers say would be much higher if the president and Congress agreed to revise the formula and spread the money among fewer cities.

    For months, New York officials have been complaining that federal antiterrorism money specifically intended for the most vulnerable cities is being funneled to a growing list of cities that do not have urgent security needs.

    In April, for example, the first installment of money from a fund established by the president and Congress for high-risk areas was distributed among seven cities, including New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago. But in recent months, the number of eligible cities has grown - first to 30 and then to 50 - thereby reducing the share of money available for New York and other major cities.

    The reaction to the president's budget proposal was strong and swift. Members of the city's Congressional delegation complained that Mr. Bush's plan would shortchange New York and other more obvious terrorist targets if Congress did not move to limit the number of cities eligible for the antiterrorism money.

    "They have taken a tightly targeted program and made it into a run-of-the-mill pork barrel program,'' said Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, who proposed legislation that would limit the number of cities entitled to such money to no more than 15.

    Mr. Weiner continued: "If we are at the point where the terrorists are targeting the Charlotte Raptor Museum, or whatever it is they have down there, then we are in big trouble. That was not what this program was intended for.''

    But Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said he was satisfied with the president's budget. "I am pleased that President Bush's budget has nearly doubled the amount of Homeland Security funding for high-threat localities,'' the mayor said. "Washington is listening to us, abandoning its population-based funding schemes and moving more money toward New York City, where it is needed."

    The president's proposal is an opening bid in budget negotiations with Congress, where lawmakers will very likely make extensive election-year revisions before giving their approval.

    In his budget proposal, the president also called for spending cuts on a handful of programs important to New York City and State, with education and law enforcement hit the hardest, according to Congressional budget analysts.

    The budget would eliminate $120 million to hire police officers nationwide, including $10.4 million for New York City, where the money was to be used to hire as many as 139 officers, according to New York Congressional officials.

    New York lawmakers also complained that Mr. Bush was not living up to his word in the area of education.

    His budget, they said, would give New York an additional $72 million in Title I education money for poor and disadvantaged children.

    But Democratic lawmakers from the city pointed out that that was $505 million less than what the president and Congress agreed to provide for the program two years ago when Mr. Bush's major educational initiative, the No Child Left Behind Act, was enacted.

    New York Democrats also sharply criticized the amount the Bush budget set aside for housing. They said the proposal provided $2 billion less than the Congressional Budget Office estimated was needed to provide vouchers for people enrolled in the Section 8 housing program nationally. With 80,000 New Yorkers in the Section 8 program, that means 7,800 are at risk of losing their vouchers, they said.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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