Hmm... When I often think of taxes, I always prefer that taken from an area such as a state should be used to improve that area except for in emergencies as it would not benefit those from whom the taxes are taken from if it went to a completely different area. It was sorta for this reason that the Sandy Bill was split up because money was being sent to Alaska with the original but that's a different topic.
No, apparently you think of taxes as magical dollars that fly out of nowhere, rather than the public's pocket. >.> At least that's how it came across. "Public funds come from the government", indeed.
The problems with taking massive relief out of state budgets for each area affected are many. Here is what I can think of off the top of my head:
1.) Federal agencies like FEMA exist because it is inefficient for each state to see to its own cleanup, and states are kinda bad about talking to one another. Think of it this way: If a giant bunch of snow falls on the driveways of everyone in the neighborhood, and you rent a snow plow to clean up your driveway - are you going to clean the driveways of your neighbors if you're the one paying for the gas? What if someone else came in and said "I'll pay for the gas if you go ahead and do everyone's driveways". Or better yet, if someone actually rented the plow for you, paid the gas, and plowed everyone's driveways, it would then free you and your neighbors up to return to work and get things in the marketplace going again. It's not really all that efficient, comparatively, for each house on the block to rent its own snow plow.
2.) I don't know if you realize this, but states are not permitted to run at a deficit. They must, in theory, balance their budget every single year
, unlike the federal government. As far as that goes, only a few states
in that region were projected to have a budget surplus for 2012. New York was hit fairly hard, but they have a budget surplus (or were projected to have one). Same with New Jersey, which was also hit hard. Okay, well, assuming they have enough
of a budget surplus to cover the repairs, what do you propose to do with places like Maryland and Connecticut, who were also hit hard but have no budget surplus. Do we give federal aid only to those states that have no surplus? What if the other states only have a small surplus and can't afford everything they need? Do they get left to founder or do they get federal help, too? Where is the cutoff?
Rather than wading through all of those questions and red tape, it's much more efficient to say, "The feds are going to give you a check for this much. Use it where it's needed and we'll check in with you periodically to see how it goes".
3.) Those regions are some of the more heavily populated regions in the country, which means that they provide heavy tax revenue. If they can't get back to work, federal tax revenue will fall alongside local tax revenue. Not to mention the fact that NYC, DC, Baltimore, and various other northeastern cities are also nodes of commerce and trade. It makes sense for the whole country to make sure that those nodes are up and running at peak efficiency as close to possible. And that's not even to mention the major communications infrastructure that runs up and down the US east coast - infrastructure that affects the Internet, telephone communications, and many other services that are not only convenient, but considered essential in the modern world of business. So it actually benefits the whole country to make sure the region is running very, very well.
4.) There is no four, because my point should be well and truly made by this point.