After recent nationwide riots and lawlessness have left a trail of burned cities, destroyed livelihoods, and murdered citizens, Democrat local officials in Texas’ capital city are pushing further by slashing a third of the local police budget.
On Thursday, the all-Democrat Austin City Council voted unanimously to take away $150 million from the Austin Police Department in next year’s city budget. The council decided to strip roughly $20 million immediately and spend it on other city projects, and the rest will be defunded and reallocated over the coming year.
Among their cuts, the council removed 150 vacant police officer positions from the already understaffed department, canceled three upcoming cadet classes, and diminished APD’s overtime budget. Council members also proposed closing the police academy for a year and even demolishing the police headquarters building downtown.
Ironically and tragically, the council is taking some of the police money and will instead spend it on killing children. Councilmember Greg Casar, a self-proclaimed socialist, said doing so will make Austin a “safer and better place to live.”
“We did it!!” Casar tweeted after defunding the police, posting a picture proudly proclaiming, “We won.”
“Extreme, anti-civil rights voices will try to send us backward and are already working [to] mislead people about this vote,” he added, after voting to spend citizens’ money on killing children’s civil rights.
Others reacted quite differently to the council’s decision.
“The council’s budget proposals continue to become more ridiculous and unsafe for Austinites,” tweeted the Austin Police Association. “They are going to ignore the majority who do not want the police defunded.”
“The unwarranted attack by the Austin mayor and city council on their police department’s budget is no more than a political haymaker driven by the pressures of cancel culture,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a press release. “The City of Austin already struggles to combat widespread crime, violence, and homelessness. … The mayor and the city council should immediately reconsider this ill-advised effort at virtue signaling, which will endanger lives and property in Austin.”
“Data says your recommendations have made us less safe, not more,” tweeted tech analyst Patrick Moorhead to Councilmember Casar. “[Austin is] #1 in murder growth and #3 in robberies. Why should anyone trust your new, fairytale policies? Zero effectiveness. Anywhere, any city. #SocialistPlaybook”
“You just spit in the eye of the average citizens of Austin. Will you pledge to not have a personal security team or live in a gated community?” one citizen tweeted.
“As someone who lives at Rundberg/Georgian Drive…this is a [sic] unconscionable decision,” another individual wrote. “Absolutely horrible for the city.”
A recent Gallup poll revealed 81 percent of black Americans want police to actually spend the same amount of time or more in their neighborhoods, and upwards of 90 percent said they also want better interactions with officers. Former Austin City Councilmember Ora Houston confirmed as much from her conversations with local community members.
“They don’t want it defunded, whatever that means to whomever you’re talking to. But they do want it reformed, and because of the rate that Austin is growing, they do see the need for more officers on the street,” Houston said.
In addition to stripping away a desired public safety presence in Austin, the city council also increased property taxes by 3.5 percent and will be asking voters in November for a massive 8.75 cent tax rate increase for a new rail and bus plan. If approved, the median Austin homeowner will pay over $330 more on their city property tax bill next year, despite already paying 100 percent more to the city council compared to 12 years ago.
The council’s decisions from Thursday are drawing nationwide attention.
“The Texas Legislature should consider taking a bigger role in ensuring our state capital is safe & secure given the irresponsibility of Texas Democrats in Austin’s City Council,” tweeted Central Texas Congressman Chip Roy.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz tweeted a similar sentiment.
“Dems continue their assault on police,” he said. “Why do they value radical politics more than your family’s safety?”