Gov. Abbott, Attorney General Paxton respond to Austin City Council’s budget vote

Austin
Gov. Greg Abbott TDEM PPE San Antonio Warehouse

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, delivers remarks on Aug. 4, 2020 at the largest Texas Division of Emergency Management warehouse, located in San Antonio, where personal protective equipment is taken in and distributed to Texas communities. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Following the Austin City Council’s unanimous vote to move $150 million away from the Austin Police Department as part of the city’s adopted budget, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton had strong opinions in opposition to the decision.

Gov. Abbott didn’t pull any punches with his comments.

“Some cities are more focused on political agendas than public safety,” Gov. Abbott said.

“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,” he said.

He mentioned the legislature will “take this issue up next session,” and said the Texas Department of Pubic Safety will “stand in the gap to protect our capital city.”

Paxton, meanwhile, called the decision an “unwarranted attack by the Austin mayor and city council,” and compared the move to cancel culture.

“The targets of this ‘cancelling’ are the brave men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line to keep our families safe,” Paxton said. “The city council’s action to slash funding disregards the safety of our capital city, its citizens, and the many guests who frequent it.”

Paxton said the city struggles to deal “widespread crime, violence and homelessness,” and called the move an “ill-advised effort at virtue signaling.”

In an interview Friday morning with KXAN, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said the decisions are meant to reduce the burden on the Austin Police Department, not reduce police, and focus them on different things.

“So we’re going to be taking a look at things we can do to change the number of officers we need … but there’s nothing about what we did last night that takes any job away from any police officer,” Adler said.

“Hopefully we’re going to be giving the officers the return of the time to do the things we want them to actually do which is fighting crime for us,” he said.

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