Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an angry response to the Austin city council's decision to slash the capital city's police budget.
"Some cities are more focused on political agendas than public safety," said Governor Abbott. "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. 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."
The City Council wants to cut police funding by about one-third of its total $434 million budget. The proposal calls for immediately cutting around $21.5 million from the department, according to a document put together by council members. But city spokesperson Andy Tate said Thursday that the number was closer to $20 million.
These immediate cuts would include eliminating funding from three planned police cadet classes and reallocating funds to areas like violence prevention, food access, and abortion access programs, the Texas Tribune reports.
Another $80 million in cuts would come from a yearlong process that will redistribute money used for civilian functions like forensics sciences, support services and victims’ services to other departments. About $50 million would come from reallocating dollars to a “Reimagine Safety Fund” that would divert money toward “alternative forms of public safety and community support through the yearlong reimagining process.”