Dallas County D.A. Resists Budget Cuts

The Dallas County district attorney is making a public plea to save his office's efficacy as county commissioners urge a 10 percent budget cut that would be achieved through staff cuts.

In light of a $58 million budget deficit, Dallas County Judge Jim Foster is requiring all departments to trim their budgets by 10 percent.

The district attorney's office budget accounts for nearly $36 million of the county's $512 million budget, the Dallas Morning News reports.

District Attorney Craig Watkins argued that the loss in staff would mean less efficiency and productivity in the office that would be harmful for the county.  He said his office hit the targeted $3.5 million reduction through a combination of other cuts and new revenue sources.

"I actually would prefer that the commissioners would find the resources necessary to adequately fund this office," Watkins said. "At this point, we're not adequately funded with what we have today, and they're asking us to even cut deeper."

During a news conference Friday, Watkins called on people who live in Dallas County to contact their commissioner and back his proposal.

"What you can do is write your commissioners, call them," he said. "Tell them you don't agree with this 10 percent across the board cut. Tell them that you want them to prioritize."

The district attorney's office is pushing a bill in Austin that calls for a public referendum on any significant budget cuts in the department.

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