Harris County commissioner says, 'no additional cops, no budget deal'

Amid predictions of health care shortages, lost pay raises and potential layoffs Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey is looking to set the record straight.

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Ramsey says the price for his vote on a proposed budget, increasing year-over-year spending by more than $100 million, was a rock-solid commitment for more cops on the street.

When Judge Lina Hidalgo and her allies balked, Ramsey walked, denying a quorum and leaving the Democratic spending plan, dead in the water.

"What’s important is that we get officers patrolling in the neighborhoods," said Ramsey. "The 200 officers is the linchpin on any discussion I'll have on a solution and thus far no one, no one has come back to me with any variation on the 200."

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Ramsey says instead of seeking compromise, Hidalgo attempted to mislead the public about his proposal at this week's meeting of Commissioner's Court which neither he nor Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle attended.

"Commissioner Ramsey said I want that $20 million to only go to the officers in my precinct which is a non-starter, because crime is up everywhere in Harris County not just in a quarter of the County," said Hidalgo

For the record, Ramsey insists placement of additional patrol officers solely in Precinct 3 was never a condition of his offer.

In the meantime, Ramsey says if Hidalgo and her Democratic allies are willing to negotiate in good faith, they could still salvage the lion-share of their spending plan.

"We are talking about a crisis with crime, so do we need to hire more administrators or do we need to hire more officers? And that's my point," said Ramsey. "There is so much waste in the budget now. We need to get our priorities straight, because right now it's more about what they want than what we need."