Without earmarks, will states be seeing red?

Deltek Analyst Evan Halperin reports.

Last summer, INPUT reported on fiscal year 2011 (FY 11) federal funding requests for the public safety and homeland security markets. For FY 11, approximately $1.29 billion was available for state and local agencies to utilize for various projects including new radio systems, computer aided dispatch software and personnel, and employing more officers. The funding available last year enabled agencies in dire need of money to pursue projects to improve public safety. The same cannot be said for FY 12 since President Obama placed a ban on federal funding requests, or earmarks.

It is no secret that many state and local agencies have been buried in a deep financial hole over the past two or three years; many localities have put a freeze on nonessential projects. One may argue whether purchasing a new radio system to replace an antiquated system from the mid-1990s is essential, but it would be hard to ignore the benefit of increased interoperability. Moving from old public safety software to new, state-of-the-art systems may not be at the top of a mayor's list when determining how to bring the city's budget out of the red, but projects like these are necessary to improve public safety and, in the long run, save lives.

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