The controversy that swirls around the issue of sanctuary cities may hold within its outcome the answer to the issue of federal mandates which are placed on cities and counties in order for them to get funding(redistribution of tax dollars). If it turns out that the federal government cannot withhold federal funds to require a municipality’s cooperation in the apprehension of criminals, then they surely should not be able to threaten law-abiding citizens with the loss of transportation funds if city fathers do not go along with “Smart Growth” or “Sustainability” policies.
Of course, it should NOT be acceptable that in, an ostensibly free country, the federal government should be able to act so coercively, but it has been a relatively unchallenged practice until now.
With many municipal leaders crying foul as the federal government threatens to withhold federal funds should they not comply with federal edicts, then that surely calls into question the broader practice. If the feds cannot exact compliance when crimes are committed, they should certainly not be able bully innocent citizens.
Their threats are SOP (standard operating procedure) for the federal agencies of Department of Transportation, HUD and EPA. The arms of local officials are routinely twisted to sign documents declaring their support for such federal agendas with each application made for grants. If they fail to sign the odds of winning the funding is greatly diminished in favor of those communities who do sign on the dotted line, even though they pay no more taxes than the other.
Pragmatic bureaucrats eagerly succumb — for the money. While they are required to seek local input, what that input is becomes irrelevant if it means losing the money. They declare that there is no point in resisting, and without “going along” the community loses out on “economic development” and benefits that are far greater than principles or more important than local control.
The process has also been used to coerce state legislatures to pass bills in support of federal mandates that would otherwise fail. One might recall the, also pragmatic, former Governor Marc Racicot telling the state legislature to “plug its nose” and pass the Dead Beat Dad’s bill, which turned over huge authority to every nook and cranny of federal and state agencies to access personal information of citizens. The feds threatened that if they didn’t do it the state would lose its federal transportation dollars. The legislation included such amazing features as requiring banks to routinely turn over all their data on all their customers to the Department of Health and Human Resources. Fortunately, while the Governor may have been OK with that, Montana bankers were not, and their opposition got the legislature to remove that portion of the law – but the bill still passed – because apparently Dead Beat Dads are a greater threat to communities than are murderers of foreign extraction.

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