Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Senator Steven Oroho (R-24), members of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, made this statement after hearing testimony before the committee about the governor’s proposal to charge residents of 89 municipalities extra fees for the cost of State Police protection:
“State Police officers aren’t just watching the streets of small towns. They patrol highways and help law enforcement in towns big and small with efforts to combat gangs, solve major crimes and keep streets safe,” Sweeney said. “If the governor wants municipalities to bolster the State Police budget, he should have all 566 communities contribute, not just take from small towns.”
“Everyone realizes we must cut spending, but the issue is fairness,” Oroho said. “Every community benefits from the work of the State Police. Why make small towns pay for one kind of benefit, while not requiring larger communities to pay for the State Police services they receive?
“Residents of small towns and rural areas pay far more in state taxes and fees than they get back in services,” Oroho said. “Plus the State Police keep a large percentage of the fines and fees they collect while on highway patrol in small communities.”
“We can adjust this budget and still keep spending under control,” Sweeney said. “We owe the taxpayers the fairest budget possible.”