Wisconsin Ranked Last in Homeland Security Spending

Wiconsin ranked last in the nation for how much the U.S. Department of Homeland Security spent per person in the state during the first nine months of 2003, when the new federal agency was first open for business. The figures released Thursday by the Census Bureau are the first comprehensive look at spending by the nascent agency created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The department spent $12 per person in Wisconsin, or $65.7 million, during the time period covered by the report, compared with $3,152 per person living in Washington D.C., which topped the list.

"Of course we wish we would get more, but is there widespread panic? Absolutely not,'' said Paul Guequierre, a spokesman for Wisconsin's Office of Justice Assistance, which administers homeland security. "Population is a big thing, and vulnerability. We would expect to be a lot less than New York and California.''

Virginia, New York, Alaska and Vermont made up the rest of the top five for per person spending. South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Michigan round out the bottom five.