Snyder’s FY 2013 Budget Attempts to Address Public Safety
In the Wall Street Journal's article, Michigan Takes On Its Deadly Cities, it was argued that the fight to make Michigan's most troubled cities safer "promises to be tougher" for Governor Rick Snyder who today presented his fiscal year 2013 state budget and attempts to address public safety in it.
Public safety is one of five priorities targeted by the governor for "strategic investments" in the budget. Snyder has recommended:
- Strong investments in public safety are to include funding of $164.7 million for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and $567.6 million for the Michigan State Police, which includes $55.7 million in funding for Military Preparedness for the Michigan National Guard and funding for core state police programs such as road patrol, motor carrier enforcement, and investigative services. According to the governor, this is a 16% increase in funding over the current year.
- An additional $15 million in general fund for law enforcement enhancement, which will further be detailed in the governor's upcoming March 2012 Special Message on Public Safety.
- $5 million to implement a summer initiative for at-risk youth with an emphasis in Flint, Pontiac, Saginaw and Detroit. This program is expected to expose youths to positive after-school activities that allow them to experience constructive alternatives to going down the wrong path in life. More details of this program will also be detailed in the Special Message on Public Safety.
Is this enough in the budget to address public safety within the state? The cities above are "four of the 10 U.S. cities of at least 50,000 people with the highest 2010 violent-crime rates" mentions the Wall Street Journal. It continues that under state law, emergency managers (which Flint and Pontiac are under current control of) have authority to cut budgets and that law enforcement costs have been among the targets.
Flint has seen numerous cuts to its police department in recent years and is currently operating with about 50-60 officers less then the crime dictates. State Representative Jim Ananich (D-Flint) agreed with Attorney General Bill Schuette who came out and said he would like to see $107 million of the state's budget surplus go to hiring 1,000 new police officers within the state.
Ananich, who sits on the Appropriations Committee released a statement: “Today’s presentation at least acknowledges the work that needs to be done to make our communities safe, educate our kids, and create jobs. Unfortunately, I’m concerned that the levels of funding won’t be enough to reverse the damage that has been done in these areas with previous budgets. I’ll also push to see action on improved public safety as soon as possible, instead of waiting for more speeches.”
To see the Governor's complete budget presentation, click here.
Comment below to let us know what you think on the amount of money the governor has budgeted for public safety.