In the new appropriations bill, Congress capped a Justice Department program to aid crime victims at $590 million, $35 million less than last year, says the Wall Street Journal in a story not fully posted online. Beause the money doesn’t come from taxpayer dollars but rather from court fines and fees, restricting it doesn’t generate actual savings. Losers from the move will likely be victim-support programs, especially at the local level. Some 4,400 local agencies and groups that the fund supports provide services like shelters for domestic-violence victims and counseling for victims of child abuse.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) estimates there is currently about $1.7 billion in the fund. He wants to bar Congress from including the fund as part of the federal budget. State programs are last on the list of those getting aid from the fund, after other areas deemed more critical, such as victim-assistance staff at FBI offices. Money for state grants dropped, from $395.9 million in 2006 to $370.6 million in 2007. State grants will drop to $328.5 million this year.