Letter: Release cities from financial handcuffs

Your editorial [Defunding police department is knee-jerk reaction, June 12] falls far short of your customary comments. Particularly glaring is your call to do more, much more, when you say: “The city needs a well-funded police department in addition to expanded mental health and addiction services, programs to try to move homeless individuals into housing, and new efforts to improve social mobility and bolster economic opportunity.”

That sounds good in theory, but it ignores the reality of the property tax caps the Republican-controlled legislature imposed, followed by those partisans’ full-court press to add those restrictions to our constitution.

Local governments are now limited in what they can do, and your call for a massive expansion of spending, while very reasonable, ignores the financial straight jacket that the city, libraries, parks departments and all units of local government face.

Before you advocate for more local spending, you should lead the charge in removing the fiscal handcuffs on local governments statewide. Then, your proposals can be considered. Until those restrictions are eliminated, cities must allocate their limited resources among the various needs, which is what the ACLU is asking.

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Jerry Williams

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