Pa. Sen. Williams calls for full funding of gun tax force

    As the Pennsylvania budget makes its ways through the hands of state legislators, State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams is calling for full funding of the Gun Violence Task Force, which targets major gun crimes in Philadelphia.

    As the Pennsylvania budget makes its ways through the hands of state legislators, State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams is calling for full funding of the Gun Violence Task Force, which targets major gun crimes in Philadelphia.
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    The task force began five years ago. Because of it…more than 700 firearms are off the streets, and there have been nearly 160 convictions for firearms offenses.

    Senator Williams, a Democrat who is running for governor, wants to see the program take root in other violence-plagued cities across the state, but he has an uphill battle in the face of budget reductions – the program lost 40-percent of its state funding in fiscal year 2010.

    “We’re here to talk about supporting this budget this year in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to increase and return that two million dollars, and then on top of that find a way to support those other areas of Pennsylvania, which are also being plagued with the same epidemic.”

    It’s unfortunate the task force is a casualty of the recession, but things could have been worse, says Rendell administration spokesman, Gary Tuma.

    “There were well over 100 line items that were eliminated entirely from the budget. In other words, they had all of their funding cut, and more than 400 other line items that were reduced.”

    Senator Williams says the cuts have put added pressure on local law enforcement. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams says his office has had to put up money to continue some investigations.

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