Republicans in the Minnesota Senate today approved a public safety budget bill that eliminates critical crime prevention grants, slashes funding for firefighter training, and cuts half of the state funding for the Department of Human Rights.
“This bill is penny-wise and pound-foolish,” said Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, the Senate DFL lead on the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. “Republicans are proposing to cut the one program we fund that actually aims to prevent crime, not just respond to it. It may save us a few dollars today, but it’s going to cost us much, much more down the road.”
Key provisions in the GOP-backed bill:
· The bill eliminates the Community Crime Prevention Grants program, which supports community-based crime prevention programs, many of which are targeted to at-risk youths. A full list of 2010-2011 grantees is attached.
· The bill cuts $6.5 million out of the Fire Safety Account, which pays for firefighter training across the state.
· The bill would cut probation officers in all 87 counties by reducing DOC Community Services funding by 4%, resulting in less supervision of offenders who are released from prison.
· The measure would halve state funding for the Minnesota Human Rights Department, a neutral state agency that investigates charges of illegal discrimination.
“We’re facing tough choices this session, but cutting funding for crime prevention and firefighter training will only cost us more in the future,” said Sen. Latz. “It’s clear that the Republican’s all-cuts approach is going to have severe, dangerous consequences for our state. Cutting back on crime prevention and public safety training is not the right direction for Minnesota.”
For more information, Sen. Latz may be contacted at 651-297-8065, firstname.lastname@example.org or 121 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.