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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Turns the Tables, Proposes Defunding Cities That Defund the Police

The “Defund the Police” movement gained significant momentum in major Democrat-run cities across the country in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd on May 25th.

Cities like New York, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle all rushed to declare their solidarity with radical Black Lives Matter protesters and rioters, with some city councils taking concrete steps to slash funding for police officers while at the same time enjoying taxpayer-funded security for themselves.

The Austin, Texas city council was another Democrat-led city that jumped on board the “defund the police” express over the summer, voting last month to slash funding for the Austin PD by 34% – or up to $150,000,000. The city of Dallas plans on following suit.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has not been amused by any of this and has explored ways to stop efforts by other cities in the state from doing what Austin and Dallas have done. On Thursday, he unveiled a proposal that would punish any city that voted to cut funds from their police departments by essentially defunding the cities themselves:

On the heels of the Austin City Council’s move to cut police spending, Gov. Greg Abbott and other state leaders unveiled a proposal Thursday that would strip cities of annexation powers if local officials cut police department budgets. “Cities that defund their police departments will forever lose their annexation powers, and any areas and any residents that have ever been annexed by that city in the past will have the power to vote to disannex them from the city,” Abbott said in a news conference at the Austin Police Association headquarters. It’s the second legislative proposal by the governor to put pressure on cities that move to reduce police spending. Last month, Abbott proposed to withhold property tax revenue growth from local governments. […] “Combined together, all of these proposals will make it basically financially impossible to defund law enforcement,” Abbott said. “It should leave Austin with no choice but to restore the cuts that they’ve already made to law enforcement.”

Police groups in Texas are not taking Austin’s and Dallas’s actions lightly, either:

Austin’s and Dallas’ defunding actions are prompting other counteractions. The Texas Municipal Police Association this week put up billboards along I-35 north and south of Austin that read: Warning! Austin Police Defunded. Enter At Your Own Risk!

Abbott has promoted the group’s message on his Twitter page and has tweeted other messages of support for officers around the state as well:

At Abbott’s Thursday press conference announcing the proposal, Austin Police Women’s Association President Melanie Rodriguez blasted the Austin City Council’s actions, noting they all voted to defund the police from the luxury of their homes last month while rioters wreaked havoc on the city:

Rodriguez blasted Austin’s city council for its actions during the worst of Austin’s riots and its defunding vote last month. “Our local leaders sat in the comfort and safety of their homes conducting Zoom meetings to reimagine public safety,” Rodriguez said. She called for Austin voters to “reimagine” the city council by defeating the ones up for re-election this year.


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