(The Center Square) – Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan has proposed giving Georgians tax credits for donating to their local law enforcement agency.
The plan, dubbed the Law Enforcement Strategic Support (LESS) Crime Act, would set aside $250 million in state credits for residents and corporations who write a check directly to their local law enforcement agency. Duncan said it would be the "cornerstone" of his legislative agenda in 2022.
"Rising crime is affecting individuals, businesses and Georgia families, and combatting this problem will not be accomplished by one solution alone," Duncan said. "My goal is to bolster law enforcement agencies across our state by giving each community the tools necessary to prevent and stop crime. Big problems call for big solutions, and I look forward to building a bipartisan coalition in the Senate and House to make the LESS Crime Act a reality."
Duncan is the third state leader who has proposed or allocated money to crime reduction over the past few months.
House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, announced Wednesday a plan to spend $75 million on additional personnel and resources for law enforcement and mental health services. Gov. Brian Kemp directed $5 million from his emergency fund in May to the Georgia Department of Public Safety to address crime in Atlanta.
"It should be no surprise that every state leader is concerned with the exponential rise in crime here in Georgia, especially in our capital city," Duncan said.
Duncan's proposal is modeled after the state's Rural Hospital Tax Credit, which allows Georgians to make donations to rural hospitals in exchange for tax credits. Under Duncan's proposal, donors can receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit. It will be capped at $5,000 per individual, $10,000 per married couple or 75% of a corporation's tax liability. Law enforcement agencies must use the funding to pay officers more, hire additional officers or increase officer training.