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Budget Cuts Could Shutdown Capitol Police Department

SPRINGFIELD - The Capitol Police Department has been protecting lawmakers and visitors to the Statehouse, but the entire department could be on the chopping block.

SPRINGFIELD - The Capitol Police Department has been protecting lawmakers and visitors to the Statehouse, but the entire department could be on the chopping block.

"We have 45 Capitol police investigators."

The Capitol Police has been around for ten years, but if the General Assembly can't work out a budget, the department may be forced to hang up their badges.

"We were presented with one budget scenario in which our office would have a $39 million cut to our budget."

If they are to cut spending, jobs may be at risk.

"A cut of that magnitude would be devastating to the Office of the Secretary of State."

The $39 million in cuts would not only impact the Secretary of State Police, but other state agencies as well.

"Facilities, assistance to libraries would be significantly reduced. All these things we would much, much rather not do."

The police force falls within those range of cuts.

"Capitol police have done a magnificent job in securing the Capitol and protecting both the people who work here and people who visit."

But, Republicans say Democrats are exaggerating the financial situation and urge the public not to worry.

"My take on this is, this is scare tactics used by the governor as a method of scaring the public into a tax increase."

Senator Jason Barickman (R) says, to avoid such extremities, lawmakers need to pass a budget.

"We need to control our spending. We need to live within our means and demonstrate to the public that we know how to manage a budget."

The Secretary of State's Office says, besides eliminating the police force, the state would also stop mailing reminders for people to renew their driver's licenses and plates. Lawmakers have until May 31 to pass a budget.

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