RealNews

Additional security will cost state millions

The war with Iraq and fears of terrorism will cost Hawai’i millions of extra dollars in tight economic times, and the state and counties will end up absorbing any security expenses the federal government doesn’t cover. The financial impact will depend on how long the war lasts and how high Hawai’i’s alert level remains, officials say, but the primary concern will be public safety. “Our state will never determine its alert status based on economics,” Gov. Linda Lingle said. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson yesterday announced a $10.3 million grant to help Hawai’i prepare for terrorism and other public health emergencies. The state’s public health agencies will receive $7.4 million, and the remaining $2.9 million will help hospitals prepare for bioterror attacks or other mass casualty emergencies. Up to 20 percent of the money can be made available immediately to pay for activities such as smallpox vaccination for key health workers and emergency responders. The offer is similar to a plan begun last year to jump-start state preparedness. Full Story

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