Mayor Barrett presents his proposed 2008 budget to the Common Council today. He's got to do this, but all that he is putting forward is a guesstimate of a budget, since the state budget issue isn't resolved.
Barrett will fund more cops, even though we keep adding cops and it doesn't seem to make much of a difference and the cops aren't really accountable for spending their money wisely or well. He will propose fewer firefighters on trucks, and the firefighters' union will pitch a fit.
Libraries, streets, Health Department -- something important is going to be on the chopping block so we can devote ever-more money to cops who will arrest more people and take them to an overcrowded County Jail where the jailers will have to release some people to ease overcrowding. We will have more cops, but no more room to hold alleged criminals so all those extra cops will NOT result in more criminals off the street. The returns on hiring more cops already have diminished to about zero -- is this really worth starving libraries and not repairing streets?
Whatever happens today won't be as ugly as what happens Thursday, when County Executive Scott Walker presents his guesstimate of a budget that deliberately makes unacceptable cuts to crucial county services so he can force the County Board to do his job and preserve some of those services and then blame the supervisors for doing it.