Austin Police investigate murder in busy north Austin shopping district April 14, 2021 (KXAN Photo / Andrew Choat)
AUSTIN (KXAN) – Texas House passed law on Friday penalizing cities that cut police resources.
House Bill 1900 was passed shortly before 12:30 p.m. with a vote of 90-49.
“Let’s support public safety in this state. Let’s support our police. Let’s support the blue, ”said Craig Goldman, MP who wrote the bill.
The bill will identify “defounding local government” by comparing the money and staff spent on law enforcement in a city’s budget with that of the previous year, starting this September.
If HB 1900 were approved by the Senate and legally signed by the governor, it would cap property tax rates in cities, cut police funding and deduct state law enforcement costs from sales tax revenues.
The bill only affects cities with populations over 250,000 – that’s 11 in Texas, including Austin.
A change to apply the bill to all cities in Texas failed.
Background on the bill
Last year, Governor Greg Abbott promised that there would be consequences for cities that cut police budgets. His office worked with Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth, on HB 1900.
It came as a number of cities across the country cut police budgets in response to demands for racial justice and police reshaping in the face of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.
Abbott has long criticized Austin City Council’s decision to cut $ 20 million from the Austin Police Department’s budget. The council also unanimously voted to invest $ 130 million of its budget in other public safety programs. This bill, which would go into effect Sept. 1, would not affect Austin unless it decided to cut the budget further for the next fiscal year.