JONESBORO — The law enforcement tax credit bill did not pass in the Arkansas Senate after people voted that it was not related to Governor Asa Hutchinson’s call for a special legislative session to cut income taxes.
The Lt. Governor said that Senator Rapert’s bill to offer tax credits of up to $3,000 was relevant to the special session.
But the Senate voted to overturn Griffin’s ruling, Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd is in favor of the tax credit. He says he was for it before it passed.
A credit would be based on how much an officer paid in state taxes. If they only paid $1,000 in state taxes, their credit would be the same amount.
Boyd said that the tax credit would be good, but lawmakers need to find a way to make law enforcement officers get higher salaries. Boyd spoke with the governor on Tuesday morning about this.
The governor talked about the issue at a news conference.
Governor Hutchinson said, “I support the increase in pay for our law enforcement officers. They are on the front line, and many of them have families to take care of. We want them to have jobs that can provide money for their families.”
Today, I spoke to Sheriff Marty Boyd of the sheriff’s association and Chief Gary Sipes of the association of chiefs of police. They both agreed that a tax credit does not increase the salaries of law enforcement officials. And if you worry about our low pay, and some people say that our law enforcement pay is ranked 49th among all the states, well, if you give a tax income tax credit, that does not change their ranking. It does not change their salary. And we should worry about their low pay, but the answer is to increase their salaries.
A tax credit is hard to apply just to law enforcement and does not include all of the other first responders who are on the front line. It would be better if we included these people as well.
Boyd said that he would meet with legislators after the special session to see what could be done to increase salaries for police officers. The salary cannot go up if there is only revenue from the local government and the state needs to help.
He said he and the governor agree that Arkansas needs to push up salaries. This way, it will be higher than all the other states.
Boyd said that it is important for the local and state governments to do something about salaries.
Hutchinson said that if we want to raise law enforcement salaries, it can’t happen overnight. It also needs the help of our local governments. Hutchinson’s recommendation is meant to persuade them.
Boyd said that if law enforcement salaries were increased, it would help agencies to have more people stay.
The government job Hutchinson made was the police. The cops need money for their work. If they get more money, it will make them happy. And people in other jobs will want to have more, too.
Follow us on Twitter.