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PolitiFact Wisconsin: The election-year debate over claims to 'defund' police

In Milwaukee alone, the need for more money to fund police comes up all the time. But one Republican group is trying to claim Democrats want to defund the police.
Posted at 9:13 AM, Aug 31, 2022

MILWAUKEE — Crime and funding police are already two big issues in the 2022 election, which is why PolitiFact Wisconsin is looking into a claim about defunding the police.

In Milwaukee alone, the need for more money to fund police comes up all the time. But one Republican group is trying to claim Democrats want to defund the police.

"Republican Governors Association, which works to put Republicans in state houses across the country, recently claimed that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, gave counties the green light to defund Wisconsin's police departments," said Greg Borowski with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

What's going on here?

PolitiFact Wisconsin says Gov. Evers did veto a Republican-backed plan that would have penalized cities and counties if they reduce their police budgets.

The penalty would have been a reduction in state-shared revenue.

"It's confusing, but the bottom line is this: in vetoing the bill, Evers kept the status quo in place, things remain as they are today. He just took away a proposed hammer and our view since (is) nothing has changed," said Borowski. "That doesn't give a green light for local governments to hack away at police budgets."

PolitiFact Wisconsin points out Milwaukee, under Mayor Cavalier Johnson and former Mayor Tom Barrett, have pushed for more officers on the street with Gov. Evers also helping.

"Evers himself has said slashing police budgets goes too far and directed $100 million in COVID relief money toward enhancing law enforcement," Borowski said.

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated this claim Mostly False.

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