Texas Governor Proposes Freezing Property Tax Revenue from Cities Defending Police

Texas attorney Greg Abbott (R) said Tuesday that he is all for limiting revenues for real estate from Texas cities that decide to cut funding from their police departments.

Abbott made the remarks at a press conference in Fort Worth. His remarks come after the Austin City Council on Thursday voted to cut the Austin Police Department’s budget by a third.

“Part of our job as heads of state is to ensure the safety and security of all Texans, and we will not allow this core function to be undermined by cities that try to submit and dismantle legislative bodies that have a sworn duty to us. to protect communities, ”Abbott said.

He added: “The expulsion of the police puts Texans in danger and invites lawlessness in our cities, and cities that endanger its inhabitants would not be able to turn around and increase more taxes from the same Texans.”

Abbott said he hopes the Texas Legislature will address the issue when it convenes for its session next year.

In Austin, the planned cuts to police budgets total about $ 150 million. About $ 20 million of that will be diverted immediately, and shift funding allocated to new cadet classes and overtime to “reinvest in permanent supportive housing and services, EMS for COVID-19 response, shelter and protection for domestic violence” , violence prevention, labor force development, and a range of other programs, “according to a city release.

In addition, $ 80 million will be taken from services such as internal affairs and forensic sciences and re-allocated to other city departments. The final $ 50 million will go toward the establishment of the Reimagine Safety Fund which will look to establish “alternative forms of public safety and community support” outside the police department over the next year.

The idea of ​​defending local police departments has been put in the national spotlight this summer after George Floyd, a Black man, was assassinated by Minneapolis police in late May. Advocates for the policy change have argued that law enforcement budgets around the country are inflated and that the money would be better spent on social services within communities of color.

Austin was one of several major cities nationwide that had weeks of protests over Floyd’s death. The capital of Texas has had its own problems with police brutality. Mike Ramos, an unarmed man from Black and Latino, was shot dead and killed by Austin police in April. Then during the Floyd protests, two city police officers shook two Protestants – ages 16 and 20 – wounding them in the head with “non-lethal” projectiles, The Texas Tribune reported.

Garrett Foster, a demonstrator of anti-policy brutality, was shot dead by an armed driver on July 25 while marching in protest against Black Lives Matter. The driver has yet to be arrested or charged by the Austin Police Department.

Abbott said the city council set political agendas on public safety with its decision.

“The Austin decision puts the brave men and women of the Austin Police Department and their families at greater risk, and paves the way for lawlessness,” the governor said. “Public safety is task one, and Austin has abandoned that duty.”