Recovery.gov has turned into a really useful website. Instead of having to visit several websites so that you know where the taxpayers’ money goes, you can go there and find the links that you have been looking for. That’s been its purpose, and it’s working. This article is about the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.
$2 billion from the Recovery Act are to be allocated to state and local governments through that program. 60% (or $1.2 billion) goes to the state governments and 40% (or $0.8 billion) goes to the local governments based on their crime rates. Click on this link and you can see what your state is getting. You can compare it to other states and/or your states county and local governments.
Notice that Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Guam also get something. I haven’t any of them except for Puerto Rico and, as you can see, the small island which is almost three times as big as the state of Rhode Island receives a huge portion of the money. Since I was not much acquainted with the Puerto Rican issues, I wanted to find out why they got $21,686,612. The answer is most likely illegal immigration (bottom of the page) and drug-related criminal activity.
Strengthening the police and the judicial system is crucial for the economy because crime rates also have a certain impact on its condition. People are least willing to do business in areas where crime rate is high, and at the same time are more willing to do business in low-crime areas, especially when the economy is in bad shape overall.
The funds are pretty well distributed overall. Take a look at Connecticut, for example. You can see that Hartford and Bridgeport receive a substantial portion of the approximately $12.5 million. The two cities have the biggest number of total violent crimes (click here for Hartford and click here for Bridgeport).
This is not the only criterion though. Other criteria include
- citizens’ attitudes toward crime
- administrative and investigative emphases of law enforcement as well as policies of other components in the criminal justice system
- climate (believe it or not it also determines what the judicial and criminal justice systems’ spending is going to be)
- family (divorce, mutual understanding…)
- population density and degree of urbanization
- economic conditions (income, poverty level, unemployment rate)
- modes of transportation and highway system, commuting and other mobility
- other factors (education, ethnicity, religion)
Stimulating the economy isn’t merely about bailouts, lower interest rates and less governmental control over the businesses. It’s about crime rates as well. A businessman or businesswoman is more willing to pay higher taxes in exchange for their business’ safety rather than pay no taxes at all and be constantly in stress every night because of an increased probability of having their business been robbed.