The Washington Post details the problems states and municipalities are having paying for services:
Philadelphia officials are leaving 200 police positions unfilled and cutting back on overtime.
Sheriff’s deputies in Polk County, Fla., are picking up more work after the state highway patrol froze hiring and four local police agencies disbanded.
And police in Atlanta are shouldering a 10 percent pay cut after all 1,770 employees and the police chief agreed to a furlough of four hours per week.
The nation’s economic trouble has hit state and local law enforcement, with two out of three large departments reporting budget cuts or hiring freezes. And at the same time, leaders at more than a quarter of the 233 departments that responded to a survey by the Police Executive Research Forum say they are noticing an uptick in property crime that they blame, at least in part, to economic unrest.
Clearly there is an obvious solution for this problem, as any good Republican or centrist will tell you- MORE TAX CUTS. Seriously, though, the craziest thing about the centrist compromise over the stimulus bill is that for whatever reason, they stripped out a ton of aid that would go directly to the states, create immediate jobs. At a time when the economy is shedding 600k jobs a month, not firing a police officer is almost as good as hiring a new one.
There are other solutions and workarounds, of course. Police departments could refocus their mission and move away from the inordinate amount of time and money they spend arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating non-violent drug offenders, but we all know that won’t happen. Even in 2009, America is still firmly in the grips of reefer madness, as Michael Phelps can surely tell you.
If only we had made the Bush tax cuts permanent and forever ended the “death tax,” we would not be having these debates, as everything would just take care of itself.