SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News / Elizabeth Ruiz) – Gov. Greg Abbott is proposing legislation that would freeze property tax revenues of cities that cut police funding.
“Cities that endanger residents by reducing law enforcement should not then be able to turn around and go back and get more property tax dollars from those same residents whose lives the city just endangered,” Abbott said Tuesday afternoon during a news conference Fort Worth.
Flanked by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Abbott said it is their collective job to ensure the safety and the security of all Texans.
Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Bonnen, News conference August 18, 2020/Photo-Governor’s office
“We will not allow that core function to be undermined by cities that seek to defund and to dismantle the law enforcement agencies that have a sworn duty to serve and to protect our communities.”
Patrick and Bonnen vowed to work on the proposed legislation and make it a priority.
Abbott’s proposal was prompted by Austin’s recent reduction of $150 million in funding for its police department. The governor said the Austin City Council’s decision endangers police officers and paves the way for lawlessness.
Cries of “defund the police” have been heard at protests across the country following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a White Minneapolis police officer who has been charged with murder.
San Antonio’s proposed 2021 budget would increase police funding by $8 million, but there are cuts in overtime. City Council is scheduled to vote on the the budget next month.