SAN ANTONIO – Update:
The state’s top elected leaders have announced a legislative proposal that would freeze property tax levels for any city that defunds police.
Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday said any city who passes legislation to defund police will have their property tax frozen at the current level without the ability to increase it.
Read the latest information here.
The state’s top elected leaders, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, are set to announce a proposal on police funding on Tuesday.
A news conference is slated to begin at noon on Fort Worth, and it will be livestreamed in this article. If a livestream is not available, check back at a later time.
The announcement comes after Austin on Thursday moved to “defund” their police force by one-third, and instead invest in social services.
The cut to next year’s $434 million police budget — decided amid a national reckoning over police brutality and racial injustice — will come to just over $150 million, according to the Associated Press. That money will be redirected to social services in the 2021 fiscal budget, which starts Oct. 1.
Shortly after Austin City Council’s decision to slash funding, Abbott said, “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,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Abbott’s Tuesday news conference will take place in Fort Worth where voters, by 64%, recently approved renewing a half-cent sales tax that funds 24% of the police department’s budget, according to the Texas Tribune.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that a large amount of the sales tax fund will go toward nonprofits and civilian response teams.