During Tuesday’s primary runoff, voters renewed a long-standing sales tax that will help pay for extra police protection in Fort Worth.
After a white Minneapolis police officer's killing of George Floyd, there were widespread protests to defund or divert funding from the police. The calls for police reform seemed to put Fort Worth’s Crime Control and Prevention District measure into question. Activists called for an end to the half-cent tax that generates tens of millions of dollars for the city's police.
But during the primary runoff election, voters approved the measure that’s been in place now for 25 years.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said her city’s population has almost doubled in that time, but thanks in part to funding from the CCPD, crime has decreased.
She acknowledged, however, that there are new questions about how the district allocates funds and its board will review spending priorities. At a City Council work session in June, Price said to expect “a lot of redirection of those funds.”
“You have to remember that if we don’t pass CCPD, we do not have that money in our budget. If it fails, the money just goes away,” Price said, addressing the public.
City officials have said they will look to move around some of the CCPD funding in the upcoming budget cycle, to give more money to community groups, as well as the police department’s mental health crisis intervention teams.
The CCPD was established in 1995 in response to high crime rates, according to the city. It provides more funding on top of the $267 million in the current police budget. According to the city, the tax generated about $80 million in the 2019 fiscal year.
The tax was renewed for five-year terms in 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2014. However, it has come under renewed scrutiny with the racial justice protests following the killing of George Floyd. Fort Worth protest group Enough is Enough is calling for an end to police funding from the CCPD.