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Immigration Initiative Is Left Out of Budget

By Kristen Mack
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 22, 2008; Page B08

Prince William County Executive Craig S. Gerhart will propose a budget that leaves out money for the county's crackdown on illegal immigration, which was approved by supervisors after it divided the community last fall.

Like other jurisdictions in the Washington area, Prince William is facing declining revenue because of the sagging housing market. In the coming budget year, county officials will probably have to make cuts in jobs and services such as education and consider raising the property tax rate to close a projected $51 million shortfall.

County staff will leave out the $3.3 million cost of the immigration initiative when Gerhart submits his spending plan next month, forcing the Board of County Supervisors to decide what to cut in the budget in order to pay for the new program.

"The budget challenge is balancing an acceptable level of community progress with the harsh fiscal reality," Gerhart said.

Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large), who rode the anti-illegal-immigrant effort to reelection in November, said the board would come up with the money for the crackdown.

"After all that dialogue, how could we not fully fund and implement it?" Stewart said. "We made a promise to the community."

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