When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton is said to have replied: “That’s where the money is.”
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras would likely offer the same explanation if asked why he’s seeking such big reductions in the police, fire and school department budgets to balance next year’s budget.
With Taveras expected to announce deep cuts in Providence’s police force at a 1 p.m. news conference today, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at how the capital city allocated its $638.5 million budget this year. This comes from the revised February budget; take a look:
So out of a $638.5 million appropriation, Providence spends $308 million on schools, $69 million on police, $63 million on debt payments and $63 million on fire. The remaining $136 million covers everything else – the mayor’s office, parks, libraries, building inspections, public works, retiree health care, and so on.
Taveras’ 2011-12 budget proposal would cut total spending from this year’s level by $21.8 million, or 3.4%, for a total appropriation of $616.7 million, according to a briefing document his office released May 2. The City Council is set to hold hearings on the budget next month, with final passage expected by July 7.
(P.S. Apparently Sutton never actually uttered his famous quotation.)
Update: Make that will lay off cops.
Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré sent a letter to members of the Providence Police Department today informing them that layoff notices will be delivered within the next week. “This fiscal crisis does not diminish the gratitude we feel for the work you do,” he wrote. “I deeply regret that we could not achieve the savings we needed from the police department in another way.”