ATLANTA — The Georgia House of Representatives has passed legislation to provide additional resources to local law enforcement, a top priority for Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.
The Law Enforcement Strategic Support (LESS) crime bill passed the House 153-5 on Wednesday after being passed by the state Senate in February.
The bill provides Georgia taxpayers with a dollar-for-dollar income tax credit on contributions to public safety initiatives in their communities. It is modeled after the highly successful rural hospital tax credit that Duncan championed in 2016 as a House member.
Under Senate Bill 361, law enforcement could use the money for salary supplements for police officers, to purchase or maintain department equipment, and/or to establish or maintain a co-op program. -responding so mental health professionals can help police defuse behavioral health. emergencies.
“The LESS Crime Act is symbolic of what can happen when leaders seek solutions beyond the reach of government and promote good policy,” Duncan said Wednesday. “Our legislation serves as a model for government entities across the country.”
“The resources generated by the LESS Crime Act will significantly help Georgia’s 159 sheriffs strengthen local public safety initiatives,” added Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs Association.
The bill includes a statewide cap on the program of $75 million per year. Individual law enforcement agencies are limited to $3 million per year.
Single taxpayers could qualify for a tax credit of up to $5,000, with married couples jointly filing for up to $10,000.
If signed by Governor Brian Kemp, the legislation will take effect with the 2023 tax year.
Due to House changes to the bill, it must return to the Senate on Friday or Monday for final passage. The General Assembly must adjourn for the year on Monday at midnight.
This story is available through a partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.