Houston Mayor Bill White and Police Chief Harold Hurtt are fighting President Bush’s proposal to slash 60 percent of funding for a federal drug-enforcement program that has been more successful in Houston than in other parts of the country, says the Houston Chronicle. Houston receives about $3 million a year from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program; the 16-county Houston region gets an additional $7 million a year. It is unclear how the proposed cuts would affect Houston.
“This is unilateral, shortsighted and a dangerous policy recommendation,” Hurtt said. “Losing this influential and successful program will unnecessarily weaken and compromise our sustained attack on the supply of drugs.” Hurtt, president of the Major Cities’ Chiefs organization, said he and other chiefs have asked to meet with Bush. The proposed 2006 budget calls for cutting HIDTA program from $226 million to $100 million. John Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy traveled to Houston to discuss drug-fighting initiatives. He said Congress diluted the effectiveness of HIDTA by expanding it from 5 cities to 28 regions.