The Lone Star State has made it clear they will not tolerate cities that choose to defund their police departments. As cities like Austin have voted to move millions from its police department as a result of Black Lives Matter protests, Governor Abbott is putting his foot down, and proposed legislation that will have serious repercussions for cities who make this move.
Abbott is not going to let political grandstanding happen in his state. He said, “Defunding the police puts residents in danger and it invites lawlessness into our communities. Any city that defunds police departments will have its property tax revenue frozen at the current levels. They will never be able to increase property tax revenue again if they defund police.”
Austin’s City Council approved a budget that cuts $150 million from the Austin Police Department. $20 million would be immediately removed from the police, and the rest would gradually move from the department into other funds. City Council member Greg Casar is not afraid of the proposed legislation, and said, “We’re going to keep on supporting the movement for Black lives and keep on doing what’s right for civil rights even if the governor just wants to rely on the traditional Austin-bashing to try and distract people.”
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick also had some harsh words for Austin. He said, “Not only has Austin defunded their police, but they’ve taken away vital weapons they could use to disperse crowd. What they have done in Austin should never happen in any city in the state and we’re going to pass legislation to be sure it never happens again.”
The proposed legislation won’t be voted by state lawmakers until January, but is a clear message to all city councils around the state that if they do not stand with the police, there will be economic backlash. Abbot said, “When crime is on the rise, the last thing we should do is defund the police.” From his point of view, cities who defund their police are more focused on “political agendas than public safety.” Abbott’s proposal is a warning, and he feels that lawmakers who are putting their residents in danger should not be able to turn around and tax them. As cities around the country are bowing to political pressure as a result of the Black Lives Matter protests, Governor Abbott wants it to be known that that type of behavior will not be tolerated in his state.