The economic stimulus package, at least where Minnesota cities are concerned, may have a short shelf life.
President Obama met with the nation's governors today at the White House (Gov. Pawlenty was among them) and said this:
"Because of what we did together, this plan will save or create at least 3.5 million jobs in every state across the country. It will keep your police officers on the beat, your firefighters on the job, your teachers in the classroom."
Meanwhile, today in Minneapolis, Mayor R.T. Rybak announced plans to close a gap in the city budget from state budget cuts. He said more than 100 cops and three dozen firefighters could be eliminated in 2010.
That would be more than 10 percent of the police force.
So.... does that mean that the money that Pawlenty gets from Obama for cops disappears? Or, do those cops that lose their jobs get to be rehired? What's the deal?
Bob, something that I would love to see would be a clear explanation of the city budgets, where the funding comes from, how big the LGA cuts actually are, and what services the cities can actually cut to make up that gap.
When he proposed the cuts, the governor mockingly suggested that St. Paul cut their arts and environment positions before cutting police officers...but neglected to mention that those positions are funded by federal grants, so cutting them wouldn't actually change the budget situation.
I've looked over the St. Paul budget documents, but it's huge and complicated, and I couldn't figure out the answers to my questions. There are so many different pots of money funding different things that I didn't know what could be cut to free up money and what wouldn't have any effect.
Ivan, the big problem -- if you view it that way -- is that eventually the economic stimulus money runs out. So it becomes a "Clinton cops" situation.
But in Rybak's case, according to a press release,
"Rybak is proposing to use one-time funds provided by the federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act to pay for 76 positions in the police department, including 57 sworn officer positions which would have otherwise been cut."
So if nothing happens with the economy, they get cut next year instead.
So in that respect, it's not so much "stimulus" as it is "stop the hemorrhaging" for a year.