Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath on Monday joined all of the nation's attorneys general in sending a letter (PDF) to Congressional leaders asking them to restore funding to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.
"If the Byrne grant cuts in the Administration's budget stand, this would be a huge blow to Montana's drug enforcement efforts," McGrath said. "The $2.15 million Montana got last year would be reduced by two thirds to only $788,000. There is no way we could continue to operate all seven of Montana's drug task forces under such a massive cut."
Byrne-JAG funding is the only source of federal funding available to local and state law enforcement for multijurisdictional drug enforcement - including methamphetamine initiatives - and it is also a critical source of funds for drug courts, law enforcement collaboration, gang prevention and prisoner reentry programs.
In FY 2007, the Byrne-JAG program nationally was funded at $520 million. In the FY 2008 appropriations bill signed into law in December 2007, the Byrne-JAG program funding was cut to $170 million for the coming year - a 67 percent decrease from 2007 funding levels.
"In Montana, we would have no choice but to shut down some of our drug task forces," McGrath said, "destroying years of law enforcement cooperation and progress in curbing drug abuse."