Mideast wars draining big city budgets

View of New York City from the Empire State Building

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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: There's a lot of talk on Capitol Hill these days about how much we're spending on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some cities are starting to complain it's costing them too. Alisa Roth reports from New York.


ALISA ROTH: Since September 11, 2001, 1,800 New York City employees have been called up for active military service.

Anthony Weiner represents the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens in Congress.

ANTHONY WEINER: When we start to crunch the numbers, we realize it's taking a very large toll on cities like New York.

That's because cities like New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles choose to make up the difference in pay between city salaries and military ones as a courtesy to military families.

Weiner says that's cost New York City taxpayers more than $57 million so far.

And that figure doesn't include the price of hiring replacements or of paying co-workers overtime to get the extra work done.

WEINER: And I think the federal government has an obligation not just to pay the direct bills, but to pay the indirect bills as well.

Weiner's proposing legislation that would force the defense department to pay back cities like New York.

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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