Governor Greg Abbott made it clear that Texas won’t tolerate efforts to defund the police. Cities determined to do so could face stiff financial penalties.
Governor Abbott’s office adopted new rules (House Bill 1900) to prevent municipalities from defunding the police, according to a March 7 press release.
For cities with 250,000 or more residents, the penalties include freezing property tax revenues and losing annexation powers. They also put their sales tax revenue in jeopardy. The State of Texas receives the right to use that city's sales tax revenue to pay the Department of Public Safety for protecting its residents.
Either way, cities will pay for police enforcement. If a municipality defunds its local police department, it could pay the state for protection.
Texas backs the blue
The message is unmistakable--Texas backs the blue. In the press release, Governor Abbott said, "My office’s adoption of these new rules will prevent cities from making reckless and downright dangerous decisions to defund the police, ensuring a safer future for Texans all across the Lone Star State."
According to the Texas Tribune, “Among Texas’ largest cities, only Austin cut its law enforcement funding.”
Adoption of House Bill 1900 will surely make municipalities think long and hard before decreasing police forces’ budgets.
Everyone deserves a level playing field. In Texas, defunding the police is not the right way to do it.
"Texas remains a law-and-order state, and we continue to make it abundantly clear that we support our law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep communities safe," Abbott stated, per the press release.