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Anaheim's 'Police Tax' Vote

July 26, 1987

Though not a resident of Anaheim, I was disappointed to read (July 22) that the Anaheim City Council will put a proposed "police tax" on the ballot.

Since the passage of Proposition 13, many city governments have adopted a disturbing strategy of pushing tax increases onto the ballot to fund essential public services (such as this "police tax") rather then cutting non-essential services. This is patently unfair and undermines the spirit of that 1978 landmark tax-cutting proposition.

Is it the hope of local governments that the voters will feel compelled to vote for these tax increases to protect their families, homes and businesses? Will this then allow the funding of non-essential services to continue uncut when those services ought to be cut in order to properly fund our police forces?

As the federal government's first responsibility is to defend our borders from possible attack, so is it local government's first priority to protect the physical safety of its citizens and their neighborhoods.

Increased police protection should never be put to a vote. Security is a fundamentally basic service of government that the public demands. And existing police forces deserve the reinforcements because they are endangering their lives for others. This is why we pay our taxes (not higher taxes) in the first place.

I'd like to see all city councils cut the budgets of non-essential services or put them to a vote before they touch police, fire or school services.

I don't envy the tough budgetary choices that our local officials have to make these days. But less safety or higher taxes is one Hobson's choice the voters should never be forced to make.

BRIAN O'LEARY BENNETT

Washington

Bennett is on the staff of Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove).

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