Five months ago, Brooklyn/Queens Rep. Anthony Weiner made sure that everyone knew how hard he had fought to include $1 billion in money for the nation’s police officers in the $787 billion federal stimulus package.
Now it turns out that President Obama is leaving New York out of the list of cities and towns that will get a piece of that funding.
According to the Post, the Justice Department “figures the most deserving cities are facing serious budgetary problems and fighting high crime rates. New York has a low crime rate, big police force, and stable budget, the feds reasoned.”
It’s stuff like this that is exactly why New York — one of the richest cities in the world — should stop wasting time scheming for federal dollars and often whining about how it is continually short-changed on money from Washington.
Even when New York is successful at getting its “fair” piece of the federal pie, all that means is that New Yorkers send their tax dollars to DC to get a little of it back, with plenty skimmed off for states and cities that don’t pay as much in federal taxes.*
This latest episode offers a lesson, too, to the city transit advocates who are pushing a bill in Congress that would proffer federal funds for to pay some of the operating costs of the MTA and other transit agencies around the nation.
If transit advocates really want transit and cop advocates really want cops, maybe they should pressure Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council, and the Albany crew to pass legislation reforming future pension benefits so that we have more money for such things at home.
*Yes, the Wall Street bailouts make this argument less pristine than it once was. However, it’s not as if federal taxpayers in Mississippi are paying for our bailout. All of the money for TARP, TALF, etc. is deficit spending, borrowed from the future on the premise that once the economy turns around, we’ll be able to pay it back, using tax revenues still disproportionately derived from traditionally wealthy cities and states like New York. Whether this actually will happen or not is a different story — but that’s the idea.