Transfer 10% of City expenditure on the Sault Ste Marie Police Services to social services
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VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT DEFUNDSSMPOLICE.ORG
Please take a few seconds to sign this petition so that we may put pressure on Mayor Christian Provenzano and City Council to fund social services and make the changes we need in our community. Please also consider donating to non-profit corporations who deliver social services in the community. Thank you.
The 2020 Final Budget of the City of Sault Ste Marie forecasts $27,539,145 will be spent on funding the Sault Ste Marie Police Services Board in 2020, 7.8% more than last year. The police are the biggest recipient of municipal tax dollars in the entire city - and by quite a margin. Roughly one-quarter of City expenditure goes to the police. The next closest recipient, the Social Services Sault Ste Marie District, which provides shelter, clothes and meals for the most vulnerable in our community, receives approximately $10 million less than the police.
This funding priority represents the idea that violence should come before compassion in creating a safe and peaceful community. We instead believe such communities are made by being preventative, not reactive. As such, we are joining the worldwide movement to defund police and fund social services, which has been proven to decrease crime in the long-run. We believe a symbolic transfer of 10% of this forecasted expenditure on the Police Services Board (approx. $2.75 million) to our social services administration is justified and should be effected immediately by City Council.
Mayor Provenzano: “Defunding the police would significantly affect its operations.” Yes, that’s the whole point - we need to change things for change to happen! The purpose of shifting funding from police to social services is to re-prioritize our approach to solving social issues in our community that are better handled by social services. If we want to make progress, things cannot stay how they are now.
A 10% shift in the City's funding for the Police Services Board would not stop their ability to perform their job. They would still receive $24 million in funding from the City, and the police receive more funding from other sources. Yet with this 10% reallocation, we make a meaningful gesture towards finding new ways of protecting our community without expanding our police force or raising taxes.
We will not be placated by a simple increase in the funding of social services. Though this would be a great and most welcomed gesture, our first mission, like other petitioners in cities across the world, is the reallocation of funding from police to social services. We do not want to raise taxes - we want to use money that is already in the pot in a different way.
The movement to defund police services is one that must happen alongside other changes in society, ranging from our administration of criminal justice to health care reform. Although they may be difficult, these are the kind of changes that give meaning to the word progress.
Improving our capacity to help those in need must take priority before hurting them. We need to be proactive, not reactive; preventative, and not provocative. This change is long overdue and has already captured the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world.
(Want to add to the petition? contact: defundSSMpolice@gmail.com)
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