Republicans led by Rush The Oxycotin Moron Limbaugh jumped on Vice President Joe Biden last month when he spoke candidly about the correlation of the upward mobility of crime statistics with a decline in police protection. The usual suspects accused Mr. Biden of using scare tactics to invoke the U.S. citizens to urge the U.S. Congress to pass President Obama’s job bill.
In Smithfield, North Carolina, some residents may experience first hand that the Vice President is not scare tactics but is indeed a reality. The police department in this small town is running out of gas money. As a result, the citizens may not get an answer to their 911 calls.
According Raleigh News and Observer, Smithfield’s Police Chief Michael Scott asked officials in a recent town council meeting to let him use $30,000 meant for office supplies to buy gas for patrol cars. If he doesn’t get the money, Smith said the police force may stop responding to some 911 calls and investigating misdemeanors because he’s already cut patrols.
Smithfield isn’t the only town looking for ways to cut costs to contend with budget woes. High unemployment and a struggling housing market have pushed more than half of U.S. cities to cut staff, boost fees or cancel infrastructure projects, according to the National League of Cities. The situation has gotten so dire that deep state and local budget cuts may be slowing U.S. economic growth, according to The Associated Press.
City officials in Allen Park, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, announced that they would lay off more than 30 police officers, firefighters and city workers, the Detroit Free Press reports. In Santa Ana, California a budget analysis found that the city may need to take steps including closing some fire stations at night to close a projected $30 million budget gap.
Some localities are looking for other creative ways to trim budgets. Nearly 300 school districts are moving to a four-day week, the Washington Post reports. In Grand Rapids, Flint and Lansing, Michigan city officials will use a $550,000 award from the state’s governor to buy a machine to process income tax returns, which will cut down on the cities’ manpower needs, according to the Grand Rapids NBC affiliate.
One county is taking what some might argue is a more extreme approach to deficit reduction. Officials in Camden County, Georgia floated hiring prison inmates as firefighters last month to curb costs.
In Smithfield, town council members say there’s no way the police will be forced to stop performing necessary services, even in tight economic times.
The American Jobs Act, which had been introduced by President Barack Obama in September, was a $447 billion plan that proposed a number of tax cuts and spending adjustments to reduce the national deficit, boost hiring and push the stalled economy into motion. It also included funding for Police Officers and First Responders.
The U.S. Senate rejected the bill last month. Senate members voted 50-49 in favor of the bill, but the measure failed to receive the 60 votes needed for advancement. Two moderate Democrats facing difficult re-election campaigns, Senators Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana, joined a solid phalanx of Republicans in opposition. In addition, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, switched from yes to no so that he could move to reconsider the vote in the future.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) backed the failed vote, calling the measure a “lousy idea.” He went on to say, “If voting against another stimulus is the only way we can get Democrats in Washington to finally abandon this failed approach to job creation, then so be it.”
McConnell has not offered an alternative to get the country back to work, but only political rhetoric. “Democrats have designed this bill to fail — they’ve designed their own bill to fail — in the hope that anyone who votes against it will look bad,” Mr. McConnell said. “This whole exercise is a charade that’s meant to give Democrats a political edge in an election that’s 13 months away.”
The jobs bill calls for $175 billion in new spending on highways and other public works, an extension of jobless benefits and aid to states to prevent police, first responders and teacher layoffs. The bill would provide $272 billion in tax relief for individuals and businesses.
Fourteen million Americans are unemployed.
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