Austin: Prop A is a bad idea – here’s why you should vote against it

GOP-led attempt to pad city police budget would diminish vital city services

By Kaiba White and Michael Coleman

At Public Citizen, we oppose funneling massive amounts of money into already bloated law enforcement budgets at the expense of vital government services. That’s exactly what Proposition A would do in Austin.

Early voting on this and other important ballot initatives started this week, and we encourage all Austinites to vote AGAINST Proposition A. Prop A is an unfunded, arbitrary mandate that would require spending between $54 million to $119 million! of our tax dollars on cops every year. That money would be diverted from the budgets of other city services. Even Austin’s Police Chief Joseph Chacon has called the Prop A scheme to add two police officers for every 1,000 residents “random” and not driven by data or intelligence. What’s more, Save Austin Now – the Republican-led group pushing this initiative – has used shady tactics to get Prop A on the ballot.

Public Citizen is among more than 100 other local organizations opposing Prop A as part of the No Way on A campaign.

Here’s why Prop A is a bad idea and why you should vote against it:

  • Austin Police Department funding has already been restored and expanded after cuts last year. There’s no “problem” for Prop A to fix.
  • Austin has some of the lowest per capital crime rates in the nation compared to other major metropolitan areas.
  • More police don’t equal a safer community. Many other factors — like poverty and access to housing and services — affect crime rates. We should encourage the Austin City Council to take a holistic approach to keeping our community safe, not tie their hands by demanding one oversimplified “solution.”
  • Prop A would cost the City of Austin up to $119 million more per year.
  • Other important city services – like EMS, firefighters, parks, libraries, sustainability initiatives, rental and food assistance, and animal services and health services will be targeted for budget cuts if Prop A passes. This will hurt, not help, public safety. Many factors make for an affordable and livable city. Police are not a one-size-fits all solution to make Austin a better place to live.
  • The vast majority of organizations that have taken a stance on Prop A— including the Austin Firefighters Association, Austin EMS Association and the Austin Chronicle — oppose the measure.
  • Even Austin’s new police chief opposes Prop A and has described the proposal as one that ignores “data” and “intelligence.”

Please VOTE NO on Prop A. Early voting is October 18-29 and Election Day is Tuesday, November 2. You can find sample ballots and information on polling places here.

Thank you for voting.