Monday, August 07, 2006

Mail Bag: Tax Cuts & Cops

In response to my post last week about tax cuts and cops, CanoeCarver wrote in to say:
I'm just a little confused about one thing. If taxes are cut, how can we expect our city. along with its supposed declining population, to fund an increased narcotics response team, as well as more police officers, in addition solving the community's issue of blight and dumping? As Grandma always said, "You get what you pay for." It seems a little ridiculous to celebrate tax cuts and in the same breath, expect more services.
I understand your point, Canoe. However, I'd hasten to point out that the City of Detroit has an annual budget of more than $3.6 billion. The tax cut represents 0.2% of its budget.

A year ago, the City was so broke it had to lay-off police officers and firefighters. Since then, they managed to squeeze $8 million out of the budget to give a property tax cut to Detroit's more affluent neighborhoords.

My point is that if they squeeze that much money out of a supposedly tight budget, they ought to be able to find half that much money to hire enough police officers to arrest all of the drug dealers in our neighborhood.

It becomes even easier to make the financials work, and justify hiring more police officers to combat drug dealers, when one remembers Michigan's drug forgeiture law. Everything that dealer has that came from selling drugs, can be seized by the courts. Those funds then become eligible for uses such arresting more drug dealers and buyers.

Everything is in place to make this happen, except for political will from the Mayor's Office and the City Council. With a little bit of pressure from the public, that can be overcome - just as their initial reluctance to lower property taxes was overcome.

Of course, there is also another option.

We can completely forget about the nitwits downtown and do it all ourselves.

One other option that's out there is that we can levy a neighborhood association fee onto ourselves (say, $50-75 per year) and use the money to hire a dozen or so laid-off police officers and firefighters as a private security force for the Warrendale neighborhood.

I welcome discussion on that option.
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