AMERICA—In a press conference on Tuesday, August 18, Texas government officials announced a new legislative proposal that any city within the state will have its property tax revenue frozen, at the current level, if they defund their police department.
Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dennis Bonnen presented the proposal at the press conference in Fort Worth. Its purpose is to discourage the defunding of law enforcement in Texas. Senator Jane Nelson, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, and Representatives Giovanni Capriglione, Charlie Geren, Craig Goldman, and Stephanie Klick were also in attendance.
In a news release, Governor Abbott stated:
“Part of our job as state leaders is to ensure the safety and security of all Texans, and we will not allow this core function to be undermined by cities that seek to defund and dismantle law enforcement agencies that have a sworn duty to protect our communities. Defunding the police puts Texans in danger and invites lawlessness into our cities, and cities that endanger their residents should not be able to turn around and raise more taxes from those same Texans. I strongly urge the Texas Legislature to take up this important issue next session to protect their constituents and ensure law enforcement have the resources and support they need to protect their communities.”
On his personal Twitter account, the Texas Governor also said, “We support law enforcement in Texas. #BackTheBlue.”
Last week, Austin City Council voted in favor of cutting $150 million from the Austin Police Department’s budget. In response to the Council’s decision, Governor Abbott posted the following statement online:
“Some cities are more focused on political agendas than public safety. Austin’s decision puts the brave men and women of the Austin Police Department and their families at greater risk, and paves the way for lawlessness. Public safety is job one, and Austin has abandoned that duty. The legislature will take this issue up next session, but in the meantime, the Texas Department of Public Safety will stand in the gap to protect our capital city.”
At the conference, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said he does not want to hear about the defunding of law enforcement. “We need every officer we can get on the street. We do not have enough now. We need to be recruiting. We need academies. We need to be investing in police, in training. We need to be doing all of these things, and any mayor of any city, like Mayor Adler in Austin, who is moving in the opposite direction is putting every citizen at risk,” Lt. Governor Patrick stated further.