By Gene Voegtlin, IACP Legislative Counsel, and Jennifer Boyter, IACP Legislative Analyst
President Bush has released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2005. Over all, the budget request totaled $2.4 trillion. For the Department of Justice, the president requested $22.1 billion, a 12 percent increase over fiscal 2004. For the Department of Homeland Security, the president requested $40.2 billion dollars, a 10 percent increase over 2004.
State and local law enforcement assistance programs did not fare well in the proposed budget. Over all, funding levels for assistance programs that are primarily designed to assist state and local law enforcement agencies were reduced by $1.455 billion from 2004 levels. This includes funding for assistance programs at both the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.
Department of Justice
Funding for the three main law enforcement assistance programs-the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG), the Edward Byrne Memorial Grant, and Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS)-was significantly reduced in the proposed budget.
As in the past two proposed budgets, the administration proposes to shuffle and consolidate many of the local and state law enforcement assistance grant programs. Under the proposed budget, the Edward Byrne Memorial Grant program and the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG) would be combined into a single program known as the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG).
In fiscal 2004 these two programs received $884 million, which was a significant cut from fiscal 2003, when the two programs received $1.377 billion. The 2005 budget proposes that these two programs receive only $508 million, which is a 42 percent decrease from 2004 funding levels, and a 63 percent cut from 2003.
The budget for the Community Oriented Policing Services would also be significantly reduced. The administration proposed just $97 million for the program, down from $756 million in 2004 and $1.15 billion in 2003. This represents an 87 percent decrease from last year, and a 91 percent decrease since 2003.
In 2004 the total funding for these three programs was $1.64 billion. The 2005 budget request is just $605 million, a reduction of $1.035 billion, or 63 percent.
The proposed 2005 budget continues a steady decline in funding levels for these three programs over the last five several years. Since fiscal 2002 the funding levels for these programs have declined more than $1.8 billion.
Department of Homeland Security
Although the Department of Homeland Security would receive a 10 percent increase over last year's funding, there are also significant cuts in funding for grants to first responders. There are three main programs from which law enforcement agencies are eligible to obtain funds: the State Homeland Security Grant program (SHSG), the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention program (LETPP), and the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).
SHSG funds are distributed to the states according to a formula; 80 percent must be passed on to local governments. These funds are not designated solely for law enforcement use but can be used to fund a wide range of other public safety agencies, such as fire and emergency medical services departments, who have responsibilities related to responding to terrorist attacks. The proposed funding level is $700 million, down $1 billion (58 percent) from 2004.
LETPP funds are designated solely for the use of state and local law enforcement agencies. They can be used to cover the cost of homeland security-related planning, organization, training, exercises, and equipment. This program remains unchanged from the current year's funding level. In addition, ODP also manages the Center for Domestic Preparedness that provides funding for state and local training programs. (SLTP)
In 2004 the total funding for these programs totaled $3.268 billion. Of that total, SHSG received $1.7 billion, LETPP received $500 million, the UASI received $866 million, and SLTP received $202 million.
The proposed 2005 funding for these three programs is $2.733 billion, a reduction of $520 million, or 17 percent, from fiscal 2004. Of that total, SHSG received $700 million, LETPP received $500 million, the UASI received $1.446 billion, and SLTP received $87 million.
The substantial increase in the UASI (which funds only 50 urban areas) offsets a dramatic reduction in the SHSG. Under the proposed budget, funding for the SHSG is reduced by $1 billion. This means that public safety agencies in all 50 states must now divide $700 million. Excluding urban grants, the proposed funding for most state and local public safety agencies is reduced by 46 percent from fiscal 2004 levels.
Combined Funding Proposals
When combined, the proposed fiscal 2005 funding levels for Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security assistance programs is 3.251 billion. This is a reduction of $1.57 billion or 31.9 percent from the combined fiscal 2004 level of $4.908 billion. It is also important to note that if the Urban Area Security Grant program is excluded from consideration, the decrease from fiscal 2004 and fiscal 2005 combined funding levels is $2.15 billion, a reduction of 53 percent.
The president's budget proposal represents the first step in the federal budget process. The House and Senate Budget Committees will soon begin work on drafting the Congressional Budget Resolution. This nonbinding document serves as a statement of Congress's priorities in the budget process. At the same time, the various subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will begin their efforts to craft the 13 appropriations bills that actually fund the federal government. The IACP will be working closely with members of Congress to ensure that the needs of the state and local law enforcement community are adequately addressed in fiscal year 2005.