Friday, April 4, 2003

Luken: Cuts would hurt city services



By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken decried proposed cuts in state support to local governments Thursday, suggesting that the city may have to cut police, fire, parks and garbage collection as a result.

"The state legislature has decided with its latest round of budget cuts to declare war on cities and seriously gut services to local communities," Luken said at an impromptu press conference at Krohn Conservatory in Eden Park.

Like other mayors across the state, Luken was attacking a House Republican proposal to cut the Local Government Support Fund by 60 percent.

In Cincinnati, that would cost $17.5 million a year, the equivalent of 250 firefighters or police officers, Luken said.

Joining Luken were the heads of five city departments: Police, Parks, Public Services, Recreation and Fire. All suggested that the cuts would mean layoffs, closing of facilities and cancellation of services.

Gov. Bob Taft and Senate President Doug White, R-Manchester, both oppose the proposed cuts, which would erase $1.4 billion of a projected $4 billion deficit.

Luken declined to say which services he would propose cutting if state support is reduced, but said the city would continue to place a high priority on safety services.

E-mail gkorte@enquirer.com




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