Politics

GOP lawmakers in three states introduce bills to waive state taxes for police

Republican lawmakers in three states so far have introduced legislation that would eliminate state taxes for police officers as a way to recruit more members to the force.

House bill 992 in Georgia, House Bill 141 in Kentucky, and House Bill 184 in New Mexico were all introduced last month, and all of them stipulate that police officers would be exempt from paying state taxes. 

Sponsor of the Kentucky bill, GOP Rep. Ryan Dotson, said it is intended to make law enforcement a more appealing profession. “People have stopped…becoming police officers,” Dotson said in a statement to the Lexington Herald-Leader. “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.” 

Reports show that these bills have come at a time when, according to data from the Police Executive Research Forum, police officer resignation was up by 18 percent last year when compared to the year prior, and retirements increased by 45 percent when compared to the previous year.

Some critics, which include police officers, have said that cutting taxes for officers would not be the most efficient way to retain members of the force. 

Critics have also said that the tax waivers would take money away from other resources that are needed by communities. Sgt. Donnell Walters, an officer for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in Missouri, where GOP members introduced a bill that ultimately failed but had proposed tax cuts for officers by 25 percent in four years, said the efforts are ways for Republicans to secure votes.

“Why are we forgetting the teachers? Why are we forgetting the firefighters and EMS?” Walters said. But Dotson added that he wants to expand the tax break to more public service roles. “I want tax reform in the state of Kentucky,” he said. “I want to do away with state income taxes altogether.” 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: BUSINESS INSIDER

Leave a Reply