Friday, January 7, 2011

How the 'Lowest Tax Rate in the State' Makes Us Less Safe

Livingston County's all-Republican County Commission continually brags that we have the lowest tax rate of any county in the state, but they never admit the shortcomings of that approach, one of which became brutally obvious recently.

The Livingston County Sheriff's Department didn't have enough deputies on hand to take defendants to court so the court system had to grind to a halt, according to a story in the Livingston Press and Argus on Friday (January 7, 2011). That's not a minor thing for the dozens of lawyers and clients waiting for their day in court. The newspaper implied it was a waste of time to have deputies "sitting in a courtroom," but the fact is that accused criminals can't just be left in courtrooms with no security. Courthouse violence against judges, witnesses, and lawyers is a reality in America.

The paper cast the security matter as a "feud" between a local judge and the sheriff, no doubt spin from some Republican in county government who wants to cover up the fact that the sheriff's office is down 18 deputies. Some townships pay for their own police protection to make up for the county's failure to provide adequate service because of the GOP's low tax line. That system makes the county's lowest tax rate brag a lie. The Republican county commissioners push the costs and responsibilities that they should be covering onto townships via a shell game that makes them look good and leaves us less safe.

But the bottom line is the county sheriff's office doesn't have enough deputies to do the job. And that's the county commission's fault.


kevins said...

I believe you're mistaken. It's not the county commission's job to provide police protection for townships and cities. By state constitution, the county is to provide a lockup, or jail. If the townships and cities want to provide their own police protection, they are able to. As you say, some pay the higher tax for a police department, others don't. Free will is still a part of this democracy.

Communications guru said...

All the all-gop county commission really cares about is being able to put that billboard up on I-96. No deputies on the road is disgraceful.

Actually, according to the Michigan Sheriff’s Association, a goal is to preserve and maintain the “Sheriff as the chief elected law enforcement officer in the county. “ Do you really expect small, rural townships to provide their own police force, especially with constant cuts to revenue sharing?