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Abbott Proposes Action For Texas Cities Looking To Defund Police...But Is It Legal?

KPVI-News 6

By: Sarah Downey

Gov. Greg Abbott has the authority to defund cities that defund police departments despite the contention of some critics. That’s according to Tom Giovanetti, president of the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI). 

“Cities are not sovereign – they are creations of the state, they did not precede the state,” Giovanetti told The Center Square. “As a Texan, I don’t want Dallas and Houston to follow in the path of Detroit, Baltimore, and Chicago; I want the state to be aggressive in stepping in when cities engage in destructive policy.” 

Giovanetti noted that despite the inherent importance of local control, it’s a common misconception that state policy ends at the city limits. 

“Local control is not a trump card that can force the state to stand down,” Giovanetti said. “The state has an ongoing obligation to protect the economic and personal liberty of residents whether they live in cities or rural areas.” 

Austin last month voted to cut millions from its police budget and Dallas also has considered it.

Abbott said cities taking such actions could be subject to restrictions on annexation and property taxes. 

“It invites crimes into communities and we cannot allow this to happen in Texas,” Abbott said according to 

“In Texas, the legislature only meets four months every two years, so government has significant powers in Texas to take actions like this when the Legislature is not in session,” Giovanetti said. “Defunding the police is one of the current progressive causes of the day, it’s a fad, a way of scoring points with progressives, but it’s a problem that presents great danger to personal liberty. It’s entirely appropriate for the state to take action to put pressure on cities or to directly overrule these cities in certain cases.” 

Giovanetti noted that in 2015, Abbott prohibited Texas cities and towns from banning fracking.