Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Abbott: Punish cities that won't maximize police spending

Today, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott proposed legislation to cap revenue for cities that reduce police-department budgets.

Grits finds this bizarre on several levels. First, I thought conservatives believed revenue caps were a good thing, not a sanction applied to liberal cities for doing something they don't like.

Indeed, I'm old enough to remember when conservatives favored less spending and smaller government. Now the governor wants to punish cities that reduce spending. We've passed all the way through the looking glass, it seems.

Austin cut its police budget by less than five percent. By contrast, Gov. Abbott, the Lt. Governor and the House Speaker recently told state agencies they all must cut their budgets by 5% because of declining tax revenue in the COVID era. Isn't what's good for the goose good for the gander?

Finally, cities around the state face budget shortfalls because of COVID.  Politico reported recently, "Nearly half of 258 police chiefs and sheriffs surveyed by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum in July said they were experiencing or expected to see budget cuts in the upcoming fiscal year, most in the 5-10 percent range." In Texas, revenue caps the Legislature already approved add to that pressure.

"Austin bashing" is one thing - folks in the capital city have come to expect that - but are you really going to punish every small town that must cut its police budget because tax revenue declined thanks to the virus?

Ten years ago, Texas Republicans were all about "less government" and "local control." Now Abbott wants to micromanage municipal budgets to keep spending high. This debate is becoming downright surreal.


ChingaLosPuercos said...

I wonder if he imagines the hearings on this in the legislature going smoothly. It's almost as if he doesn't remember how many Austinites sign up or show up at city council meetings on anything police-related, and tell their stories, one after another, of APD misconduct, brutality, and corruption. Does he REALLY want the whole legislature hearing these same stories? Does he want to attract the attention of a potentially-Democrat US Attorney General with these hearings? It's not like Austinites even have to "travel to Austin" to speak at the lege. Any hearings on this will be brutal, and will not be good publicity for Abbott OR APD.

Gadfly said...

Already on the "cut" is not "defund" on Twitter and related stuff.

Among the related stuff is that the Lege must pass such things AND ... maybe this heavyhandedness pushes suburban state House races "blue," and costs the GOP the House.

Anonymous said...

Thoughts to consider:

1) The taxpayers are STILL sending $800 million dollars every biennium for "border control", which is a FEDERAL duty. That cash could go a very long way in helping everyday Texans during this pandemic!

2) His war on Austin is obviously ironic since he spends millions every four years to live in Austin! He was first elected to statewide office in 1996, twenty-four years ago! He attended UT Austin before that.

3) His recent attacks on the largest cities in Texas (which all but Fort Worth vote blue) is nothing but pandering to an ever smaller base.

I'd be absolutely thrilled if Abbott packed his bags and moved to the moon or something equally far away.

Michael said...

I applaud Governor Abbott for this proposal.

Anonymous said...

This is going to be the scariest upcoming legislative session ever. May God bless Texas.

Anonymous said...

I am aghast by this and god knows the bar has been raised so high these last few years I wasn't sure I'd be shocked by anything again. What's the call to action?

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