Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The painful news of two-week furloughs for 6,000 Prince George’s County workers leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of hundreds of thousands of people who rely on them. No one was spared — firefighters, paramedics or police.

The accompanying cuts to county schools and across-the-board reductions in other departments are further evidence of the growing mismanagement of the public trust by County Executive Jack B. Johnson and the Prince George’s County Council.

Clearly, there are ways to trim the budget and reserve shrinking resources for those who deserve to receive them. Mr. Johnson and the council members are politicians first and a distant second when it comes to practical leadership.

Highlighting the twisted priorities of political leadership in Prince George’s is the Sept. 13 joint announcement by Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) and CASA of Maryland, an illegal alien support group.

With unemployment growing among the county’s black population, the PGCC (Largo campus) and CASA announced the graduation of the first class of 12 day laborers from vocational training. Training and job certifications for illegal aliens in our community, who pay no taxes and abuse our schools and services.

Instead of furloughing county workers, Mr. Johnson could have saved untold dollars by limiting access to PGCC classrooms to U.S. citizens only. Similar restrictions for social services, housing and energy subsidies and other county-provided benefits would have pushed the budget savings into the tens of millions.

This savings effort should be combined with county-mandated business implementation of E-Verify, an effective federal program to ensure that those who are not legally in the country are excluded from business payrolls.

Most important, Mr. Johnson and the council should pull the plug on the planned multimillion-dollar CASA of Maryland headquarters and worker center in Langley Park. The center be a powerful magnet, attracting increasing numbers of illegal aliens and their families to Prince George’s County, with the accompanying increase in crime, gangs and drain on services. It’s time to permanently furlough CASA of Maryland in Prince George’s County.



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