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2006 NOVA Newsl. 1 (2006)

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                                                                               Vome 2 3

                    NOAof 43 isus


 Na3tiona Orga.nizat on for Vi et mAsstance





NOVA Mobilizes for Lasting Protection



  Feds Seek to Diain Victims' Fund - Again


    IThe Presidents B3udget, submitted to
('ongress on IFehnuary 6, is pnce again
proposing a rescission of al the funds
projected to be in the C rime Vitimus IFund
at the end of t1hc upcoming fiscal year.
HWhen the same proposal w\as offered last
year, no member  of Congress  publily
supported it, and the Adminisitration's
lobbying efforts in its behalf were con-
ducted below the radar Tism year, how\-
exct, the Justice Department is mounting
a publb campaign to conduct its sugery
on the financial heart of the Victims of
Crime Actof1984  (VO('A)  an operation
that will totally drain the Fund, a this
article will explain.
    In a March 8 hearing before his Sub-
committee on Fedeal Financial Manage-
ment of the Homeland Secuity (Commit-
tee, C hairman Torn  Cobhrn  (R-OK),
charged. '-The proposal would take this
money the   rainy day f'und plus an ad-
vance on what will be deposited in 2007
call it ~surplus' and dump it into the
General  freasury. In response, Paul
(Corts, the Assistant Attorney (General lor
Administration, countered, T1he proposed
rescission is a budgetar action that wil
notnegately  afet programs fur thevc-
tims of crime We are committed to ensur-
ing the solvency of the Fund and adequate
funding for victims' programs.
    Mr1 Corts substituted the term per-
petual float for last y ear's surplus in
describing the reserves in the Crlime lVic-
timsk Fund   the $1-plus billon whichh
C harman C obumn calls a ramny day fund.
Under  questioning, Mr. ('orts continued
to assert that the VOCA program would
have money to sustain its grant program at
the outset of Filscal 20018, a claim earnestily
delivered but  in contrdiction to the
Admninistration's actual proposal.
    T he mnechanics of' the VOCA1 statute


paint a clear picture of what the budget
plan would do.

How  the Crime Victims Fund Is Funded
     lThe VOCA  program is self-funded,
in Senator Coburn's  words, in that its
revenues are t1he fines and other finacial
penalties collected itom Federal o ttenders
each year, \itb no tax dollars in the mix.
Of course, fine collections are unpredict-
able and so, in 1999, when one shopping
ine tripled the deposits in the Fund, Con-


Note to Readers: an announcement   of
the VOCA  threat was emailed to NOVA
membersasa   timel   ictim Voices legis-
lative alert. Members:  make  sure we
have your email address, through Nova-
One at our website. Now more than ever
it is crucial that we all work as one to
preserve the Crime Victims Fund!


gress imposeda cap on how much could be
spent of that money the next year. A cap
has been eimposed each year  Monel  in
the Fund above the cap  s explcitly re-
served to make up for needed funding in
lean years. Indeed, in three yers, VOCA
has had to dip into the rany day f'nd for
money  needed to meet the amount Con-
gres targeted for that tsal year.
    Yet in four of the years since 199,
collections outpaced expenditures, so the
reserves have grown to $1.3 trillon. In
relative terms, it is not a huge sum - it's
about twice the typical VOCA  budget
$650 million, authoriued in recent yals.
Its continued growth is a chanc proposi
tion, since each time it has spiked well
above what Congress thought the program
needed, it was entirely due to one, two, or
three massive fines taken from felonious


corporations plainly acas eof rare good
fortune Trom the perspectiv of VOC A
anml the vitfims it serves. In a post-lKatrina
wold, relmn  on a few rich lisreans to
keep victirn programs atoat seems a poor
11sk for a prudent govrnmnent administra-
ion to take
    Independent of any consideration of
how  much is enough to spend or keep in
reserve at any given tune is the principle
on which  the progran was constructed:
cimevitimns  need and deserve compen-
sation and personal assistance, and there
is no better pool ofnesources to undertake
the work  of vitim  rehabilitation than
money) Itlt explopiated fom of  tenders
Speaking at the March  Senate hearing,
idwon  Meese wealled  the thnking that
prompted him  and other officials of the
Reagan Adimnistration to propose the cre-
ation of VOCA1   Noting its reliance on
revenue from  criminal fines, fees, and
forleiture, the former Attorney General
said, This meant that the cost 'for neces-
sary assistance would be paid for by the
crimuals themselves, not by the taxpay -
ers, This was the philosophy behind the
decision of C ongress and the President to
establish the Crime Victims Fund in the
manner it now exists.
    For those who subscenbe to VLCA's


See     A   fund, page 2


NOVA  Todayis the quarterly newstter of the National Organization for Victim Assistance, publhed as a serce to its members and the general public.
Views expressed here are those of their autho rs and do not necessarily reflect those of the Board of Directors of NOVA.t 2006 by the National Organization
for Victim Assistance. Permission is granted to reproduce material from NOVA Today provided the source and copynight are appropriately noted.

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