With a March 1st deadline approaching, Democrats and Republicans are in an apparent stalemate over how to avoid $85 million in immediate cuts on the nation's first responders.
That includes cuts to grant money available to first responders, like firefighters and police officers. Right now, local agencies get these grant monies by applying for them. The possible grant cuts could effect how well they serve Eat Texans.
"Emergency responders, like the ones who are here today, their ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be degraded. Border patrol agents will see their hours reduced. FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go. Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country," President Barack Obama said in a press conference on Tuesday
These grants are more than just a little extra for local police. Tyler police have a $250,000 armored car from a grant, as well as a $76,000 mobile command unit. They also have 40 tasers valued at $800 apiece, and much more.
"It's a great asset that we're able to use these items from the federal government, versus having to comb them out of the city budget. Bottom line, especially with the armed vehicle, that is a very expensive item," Tyler Police Department Public Information Officer Don Martin, said.
For local firefighters, those grants provide radios, air packs, equipment and other day-to-day items. Mineola Fire Marshal David Masden said he estimates they've gotten more than $300,000 in grants.
"The everyday equipment we use, I don't know, 80 percent of the time, we've gotten that from grant money. So yes, it's very essential," Masden said.
Without that grant money, Madsen said, it would be tough on the department.
"It would be difficult. We would get by like we usually do. The grant money just makes it a lot easier for us. We don't have to worry about how we will pay for things because we have that grant money," Masden said.
Not only will it be tough on those departments to find out how to pay for many of their everyday items, but if those automatic budget cuts go through, it'll be a lot tougher on you and your taxes.
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