Van Hollen lashes out against budget cuts

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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen sent out an email yesterday accusing the Doyle adminstration and the Democratic leadership in the legislature of launching a partisan war against the Department of Justice, citing the 10% cuts in the agency’s funding for the upcoming biennium.

“The fact is that the JFC ignored our public safety mission and services to law enforcement, crime victims and citizens across this state. We never imagined that the Justice Department would be treated so inequitably and in such a seemingly partisan manner.”

It is interesting that Justice was subject to an extra 5% cut that most other agencies, including the UW system, did not face. It’s hard to imagine where they cut all that money from. According to Van Hollen, $1 million for instance, was cut to raise the salaries of district attorneys and public defenders. Where did that money come from?

However, Van Hollen’s hypocrisy comes when he accuses the state of unfairly treating DOJ in comparison with the Dept. of Corrections. He is absolutely right if he implies that Wisconsin is spending way too much on corrections and that the cuts this year should have been much more drastic in that realm. However, he should remember that it was he, just a few short months ago, who labeled the plan to reform sentences as “a safety threat,”  insisting with dubious logic that a non-violent offender, who, let’s say, is sentenced to five years of prison, will somehow be more of a security risk if he’s instead released after 3 years.

If Van Hollen and his Republican allies in the legislature really wanted to work at rooting out crime with an effective system of law enforcement, they would advocate significantly decreasing corrections spending, which would free up money for more cops and more treatment programs.

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