GOP in 3 States Introduced Bills to Waive State Taxes for Police

  • Bills proposing waiving state taxes for police officers were introduced last month in three states.
  • GOP lawmakers in Georgia, Kentucky, and New Mexico made the proposals, Vice News reported.
  • The lawmakers said it would be a way to get more people to enter the profession.

Republican lawmakers in three states have proposed legislation that would waive state taxes for police officers as a way to recruit more police, Vice News reported.

Last month, House Bill 992 was introduced in Georgia, House Bill 141 was introduced in Kentucky, and Senate Bill 184 was introduced in New Mexico. All three of these bills propose not requiring police officers to pay state taxes.

In Kentucky, GOP Rep. Ryan Dotson, the sponsor of the bill, said it was meant to make law enforcement more appealing, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported

“People have stopped … becoming police officers,” Dotson told the outlet. “So we’re trying to incentivize people who go into and stay in that line of work by passing something that will appeal to them financially.”

Vice reported that these bills come at a time when data from the Police Executive Research Forum shows that resignation among police officers was up by 18% last year compared to the previous year and retirements were up 45% compared to the previous year.

However, critics including police officers themselves told Vice that cutting taxes for officers was not the most efficient way to retain law enforcement.

Sgt. Donnell Walters, an officer in the St. Andrews Louis Metropolitan Police Department in Missouri, where GOP officials had previously introduced a bill that would cut taxes for 25% over four years but ultimately failed, told Vice these efforts are just ways for Republican lawmakers to secure votes from police.

Vice reported that these state tax waivers take money away from other resources communities need.

Thaddeus Johnson, an assistant professor at Georgia State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, told Vice the bills “simply feels like political peddling.”

Walters told Vice that he questions why these incentives have not been extended to other public service jobs that have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and need support.

“Why are we forgetting the teachers? Why are we forgetting the firefighters and EMS?” Walters said.

In Kentucky, Dotson told the Herald-Leader that he wants to expand the tax break to other public service roles.

“I want tax reform in the state of Kentucky,” Doston said. “I want to do away with state income taxes total.”

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