Watch Gov. Greg Abbott and state leaders discuss a police funding proposal live at noon Central time
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Texas’ top three elected leaders — Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen — will announce a proposal on police funding at noon Tuesday, days after the Austin City Council approved a budget that will cut police funding by one-third and reinvest money in social services.
“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,” Abbott said in a statement last Thursday. “Public safety is job one, and Austin has abandoned that duty.”
Abbott, Patrick and Bonnen will be joined by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Republican state Sens. Jane Nelson and Kelly Hancock, and Republican state Reps. Charlie Geren, Craig Goldman, Stephanie Klick and Giovanni Capriglione.
Texas’ four largest cities — Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio — each spent more than a third of their general funds on their police departments during the 2020 fiscal year. Austin was the first to drastically cut police department funding. San Antonio’s proposed budget for 2021 increases overall police funding by $8 million, but cuts overtime and funds health and violence prevention programs. In Dallas, the proposed 2021 budget includes a minor increase in police funding and $3.2 million for social safety net resources. Both cities are scheduled to approve their budgets in September.
Abbott’s press conference will be in Fort Worth, where voters supported renewing the half-cent sales tax that funds at least 24% of the city police department’s budget in July. According to the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, the city is considering a proposal to redirect some funds within the police department to expand its mental health team, increase funding to nonprofits and create a civilian response program.
Source: Texas Tribune