YouTube / GregAbbott
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wags a finger in a YouTube video
Gov. Greg Abbott has doubled down on law-and-order rhetoric amid ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, urging Texas political candidates to sign a pledge not to cut police budgets.
"Some cities in Texas want to defund and dismantle police departments in our state," Abbott says dramatically during a YouTube clip
posted Wednesday to promote his pledge. "This reckless action invites crime into our communities and threatens the safety of all Texans, including our law enforcement officers and their families. We cannot let this happen in Texas."
The Republican governor unveiled the pledge less than a month after publicly announcing he'll push for a law
during next year's legislative session that would freeze property tax revenues for cities that cut their police budgets.
That threat came days after Austin's city council approved a budget that slashed police funding by one-third and funneled the money into social services. The unanimous vote followed months of pressure from police-accountability activists.
Similar groups have urged San Antonio to throttle back a proposed budget increase
for its police department.
San Antonio community organizer Ananda Tomas dismissed Abbott's pledge as a partisan maneuver and took issue with him calling cities "reckless" for cutting police budgets. Those cuts can fund social programs that help cities better address issues such as mental illness and homelessness, she added.
"What we're talking about is civilianizing jobs," Tomas said. "We're talking about taking duties away from overworked, overtired police officers who don't have adequate training in that kind of work and giving them to civilians who do."
As part of his pledge, Abbott requested that candidates of any party affiliation to sign his pledge and post it on social media at 2 p.m. this Thursday.
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