Safety key to economic growth

Published 9:16 pm Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced a special message to the Legislature on public safety, in which he proposed needed structural reforms in the law enforcement and criminal justice systems.
Public safety is key to economic growth and job creation. The most basic needs of job providers, tourists and workers are safe communities to do business, visit, work and raise a family.
Businesses will not invest in communities if they cannot expect a secure environment; and families will not settle in a place where their children are not safe to learn and play.
We have achieved much in the past year to energize our economy, but as long as the country sees Michigan as having four of the nation’s top 10 most violent cities, we will never be able to reach our full economic potential.
The governor noted in his message that a recent study showed that homicides in these four cities cost Michigan taxpayers more than $1.6 billion.
We must remember that violent crimes like murder devastate families and communities, but also affect the economic growth and budgets of all Michigan residents.
By focusing on public safety, we can protect our loved ones, create jobs and free up resources to enable the state to support other priorities like education and roads.
As Senate Appropriations subcommittee chair for corrections, I am especially thankful that the governor is addressing the problems of drugs and prevalence of crime.
I have long supported drug treatment courts as an effective way to end the process of drug and alcohol offenders entering the prison system over and over again. I thank the governor for working to end this cycle.
Steps like ending the cycle of recidivism will help protect southwest Michigan families and save taxpayer dollars.
I look forward to continuing to work with the governor and the Legislature on this comprehensive approach to reducing crime, ensuring the safety of our communities and helping to bring new investment and jobs to our state.

Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien and Cass counties and most of Van Buren County.