Dueling PACs each raise over $ 1 million ahead of Austin Prop A vote


The two main political action committees in a duel over an Austin Police staffing vote measure have each raised more than $ 1 million ahead of next week’s vote.

According to campaign fundraising records expected Monday, the Equity PAC, which is linked to the “No Way on Prop A” campaign, reported $ 1,064,727.41 in political contributions from September 24 to October 23, according to reports. documents filed with the city.

Save Austin Now, the political action committee that collected signatures to get the measure of police personnel in the Nov. 2 poll, said it raised $ 1,013,896.86 during the same time period, according to filings near the city.

If approved by voters, Prop A’s staffing measures would begin by requiring the city to employ two officers per 1,000 residents. A second provision would require that 35% of an agent’s work shift be spent on unengaged time – often referred to as community engagement time – and not on answering calls.

To ensure shifts are adequately staffed, city workers say even more than two officers per 1,000 residents are needed. The true ratio, they say, is between 2.1 per 1,000 and 2.5 per 1,000.

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Weighing police attrition rates against Austin’s current population and projected growth, the city is expected to hire an additional 403 to 885 officers over the next five years, according to the city’s calculations. The cost to do so is $ 271.5-598.8 million, according to a city analysis. Save Austin Now disputed these estimates.

To find the money, the city may have to cut funding from other departments, said Mayor Steve Adler and some members of Austin city council.

Ahead of the May election on the homeless camping ban, which Save Austin Now also got on the ballot, the PAC raised $ 1.9 million. That total was a near record in a city-wide election, behind only a campaign funded by ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft in 2016 to oppose a city vote on driver regulation. carpooling services.

The Equity PAC reported that $ 960,000 of the money it raised during this most recent reporting period came from businesses or labor organizations, including a previously reported $ 500,000 contribution from billionaire activist George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. Supporters of No Way on Prop A have cited this as evidence of one of the largest and most diverse coalitions of organizations coming together to oppose the measure.

“I think it just shows the implications of Prop A on the police, on cuts to other essential services like firefighters and EMS,” No Way said of Prop A campaign manager Laura Hernandez. Holmes. “It shows how much the people on the ground care about this, but also the progressive organizations that know about the criminal justice reform movement.”

Following:Austin’s ballot measure could benefit police – but could it come at the expense of firefighters?

Save Austin Now co-founder Matt Mackowiak said the majority of funds raised by his group came from individuals and businesses in the Austin area, citing more than 1,900 individual donations. Donors to Save Austin Now included Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who donated $ 10,000, and Phil Canfield, CEO of Austin-based Ariet Capital, who donated $ 75,000, according to documents filed with from the city.

Save Austin Now has also received broad support from law enforcement groups across the state. Corpus Christi, Harris County, El Paso, San Antonio, McAllen and Bexar County law enforcement associations have contributed in the thousands to Save Austin Now.

“We’ve had hundreds, if not thousands, of small or smaller contributions,” Mackowiak said. “We are proud of the overwhelming and diverse financial support we have received. “

The Austin Police Association, Austin’s largest police union, previously announced its support for Prop A, while the Austin Fire Department and Austin EMS are opposed to the measure, saying it could result in a reduction the funding and services of their departments.

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