Texas Gov. Abbott, officials rip Harris County’s proposed budget to ‘defund’ local law enforcement

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A proposed budget by Texas’ largest county is receiving backlash from officials who say it will essentially defend local law enforcement at a time when crime rates are increasing and public safety is becoming a major concern. 

In a statement released Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blasted Harris County commissioners after complaints were filed by Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman and Precinct 5 Constable Ted Heap demanding an investigation into local commissioners over its proposed budget. 

“The loss of millions of dollars in funding will endanger public safety across the county at a time when Texas law enforcement is working harder than ever to keep criminals and dangerous drugs out of our communities,” Abbott said in a statement. 

He further said Harris County was politicizing public safety

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The Harris County criminal court building. Some Texas officials opposed a proposed county budget they say will defend some local law enforcement agencies. 
(Harris County District Attorney’s Office)

In a letter to county commissioners dated Monday, state Comptroller Glenn Hegar took issue with a move to move more than $3 million dedicated to the constable offices to the general fund, the Houston Chronicle reported. 

“If the county proceeds with the Constable budget as proposed without obtaining voter approval, the county may not adopt an ad valorem tax rate that exceeds the county’s no-new-revenue tax rate,” Hegar wrote.

Harris County Administrator David Berry on Tuesday said Hegar’s position would prevent the county from adopting a budget that would actually increase law enforcement funding by millions of dollars. 

“This practice was unique to Harris County and is not the practice of other local governments,” he said, according to the newspaper. “Under the current policy, departments, including the Constable’s Offices, can request the use of unspent funds on vehicles, equipment, and other one-time expenses. The County has continued to support these investments.”

Fox News has reached out to the office of Harris County Judge Linda Hidalgo.

Multiple municipalities began efforts to reduce law enforcement funding in the wake of the 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since then, some have poured money back into public safety amid escalating violent crime rates and understaffed police departments. 

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In 2021, San Francisco officials request more funding to bolster its police department as the city was rocked by an uptick in murders and brazen smash-and-grab retail thefts. In Seattle, officials have called for more officers in the midst of a staffing shortage. 

Cities like New York and Philadelphia and Houston have also seen increases in violent crime



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