Due to the high proportional cost of law enforcement in local government budgets, it is a real possibility that these essential services could be cut as other revenue sources (local government aid, etc) decrease. In order to maintain current levels of service with less revenue many state and local governments may look to increase other more stable revenue sources, such as property taxes. Increasing local taxes obviously counteracts any initiatives that the federal government enacts in order to stimulate the economy, so it must be with this purpose in mind that $2 billion in funding was allocated to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG). The program is designed to provide direct funding to state and local governments to support the following activities:
- Law enforcement programs.
- Prosecution and court programs.
- Prevention and education programs.
- Corrections and community corrections programs.
- Drug treatment and enforcement programs.
- Planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs.
- Crime victim and witness programs (other than compensation)
After accepting these funds, recipients are required to provide quarterly financial reports and quarterly updates on the jobs created by the funds received.
Considering the drain that the criminal justice system can be on local government budgets this federal support may be a huge help as states drastically cut local government aid, due to their own budget shortfalls. However, these increased funding levels will only last for four years. Local governments would be wise to make any new programs created with these funds self-sustainable or utilize the next four years to stabilize their own budgets, so the new programs can continue after federal funds end.