Sunday, September 23, 2001

Relief funds divide lawmakers

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — A lawmaker who wants to donate part of the state's crime victims compensation fund to relief efforts in New York is upset at the attitude of leaders toward the idea.

        Rep. Ray Miller, D-Columbus, is sponsoring a bill that proposes sending $1 million of Ohio's $31 million surplus in the Victims of Crime Compensation Fund to New York to aid the families of those killed or injured in the terrorist attack.

        House Speaker Larry Householder and Senate President Richard Finan, both Republicans, said they would consider the proposal but did not express optimism. That made Mr. Miller furious.

        “We're giving great speeches about one America, and unity, and great compassion, and yet all we're willing to do is pass a resolution,” he told the Columbus Dispatch. “People cannot eat sympathy and support. They've got to pay the bills.”

        Joe Case, communications director for Attorney General Betty Montgomery, who administers the fund, said the proposal is under study.

        “It's a noble proposal,” Mr. Case said. “We've talked to the people in New York and they said it's too early to tell if they would need any financial assistance.”

        Rep. Miller said speed is paramount.

        “Anybody who says they don't need money, I don't know who they're talking to,” he said.

        He has spoken with New York legislators and the offices of Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and New York Gov. George Pataki.


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- Relief funds divide lawmakers
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