Budget cuts are threatening the future of special funding for rural law enforcers in California. A state Senate budget subcommittee cut all $18.5 million in funding for the program, which since 2001 has provided $500,000 a year each to California’s 37 least-populated counties, reports the Sacramento Bee. But the rural sheriff’s program accounted for only a small part of the half-billion-dollar whack that the subcommittee took out of local law enforcement. The panel also wiped out a $119 million program for local prosecutors, jails and cops. And it eliminated $119 million targeting juvenile offenders, $35 million in booking fees the state had been paying for local police agencies, $201 million earmarked for juvenile probation camps and $29 million used to stop methamphetamine trafficking.
The move went beyond Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget, which asked to cut the law enforcement programs by 10 percent. With the state looking at a $20 billion budget deficit, Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, said his subcommittee had no choice but to cut programs it deemed discretionary. If counties want the programs, Machado said, they’re going to have to find a way in their own budgets to pay for them. “We have to be straight up,” he said, citing cuts already facing schools, colleges, senior health and children’s disability programs. “Local governments are going to have to take some responsibility and do what they think they need to do at their end to continue their obligations.”