Sunday, February 06, 2005

Bush: Cut Byrne grants 90%!

President Bush's new budget proposes slashing the "Byrne grant" fund that pays for Texas' drug task force system by 90%, from $600 million to $60 million, AP reports. He's feeling generous. He proposed eliminating the program entirely in his first four presidential budgets. Last year, Congress slashed a quarter of the Byrne budget, merging it with another program.

In Texas, 86% of Byrne money goes to fund drug task forces like the ones in
Tulia, Hearne and Palestine, which have been rife with scandal and accused of widespread racial profiling. The same type of drug task forces cause problems in other states, too, and the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee recently recommended getting rid of them in its interim report.

Via Talk Left UPDATE: Loretta's got more in this great post, including a good case that narcotics officers' unions may have wound up using Byrne grant money received indirectly to oppose the President's proposal in the past.

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