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Duncan proposes tax credit to raise money for law enforcement
Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan
Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan called on the General Assembly on Thursday to create a $250 million state tax credit aimed at reducing crime statewide.

The Law Enforcement Strategic Support (LESS Crime) Act will be the cornerstone of Duncan’s 2022 legislative agenda.

Duncan was the third Republican state leader to announce an anti-crime initiative this week.

On Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp told members of a state House committee he will include anti-crime measures on the agenda of the special legislative session he will call this fall primarily for the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional and legislative district lines to account for population shifts in the 2020 U.S. Census.

Then on Wednesday, House Speaker David Ralston proposed spending an additional $75 million to bolster law enforcement and mental health services in Georgia.

“It should be no surprise that every state leader is concerned with the exponential rise in crime in Georgia, especially in our capital city,” Duncan said Thursday. “Rising crime is affecting individuals, businesses and Georgia families.

“Combating this problem will not be accomplished by one solution alone. … Big problems call for big solutions.”

The tax credit Duncan envisions would be modeled after the Rural Hospital Tax Credit Georgia lawmakers created in 2016 to help the state’s most financially stressed rural hospitals.

The new tax credit legislation would let Georgians write a check directly to their local law enforcement agency and receive a 100% dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit. The credit would be capped at $5,000 per individual taxpayer, $10,000 per married couple, or in the case of a business, at 75% of a company’s tax liability.

Law enforcement agencies would be required to allocate the money for police officer pay raises, to hire more officers or to increase training.