Lt. Governor Duncan Op-Ed: How We RE-fund Our Law Enforcement Agencies Without Raising Taxes or Increasing Debt
Friday, August 6th, 2021
Fox News: Watching panicked fans seek cover after gun shots rang outside a recent Washington Nationals game made my heart sink. How could such a scene be possible in this great country of ours, let alone in the literal shadow of the United States Capitol. Government’s most basic responsibility is keeping our citizens safe, a task that by any demonstrable standard is not being met right now.
These stories have become far too common this summer all across our country and have taken over our political discourse.
One year after "Defund the Police" became the default movement of the left, the next mayor of New York City is poised to be a former police officer who explicitly campaigned against the movement. If those are the conditions in one of the bluest cities with some of the strictest gun control requirements, consider where the debate is headed everywhere else.
In my back yard of Atlanta, deteriorating conditions have led to a movement focused on removing the community of Buckhead and forming its own city. Among other priorities, the organization wants to establish their own law enforcement division, which they believe will stem rising crime.
As a father of three, I am sympathetic to their cause. Statistics from the Atlanta Police Department show crime, including robberies, aggravated assaults and larceny from automobiles, rising across the city and disproportionately higher in Buckhead. Officers have quit in droves as they have become demonized for political purposes.
The realities of creating a new city are cumbersome, divisive and will have little to no effect on the growing crime issue in the Buckhead community if the overall city of Atlanta does not take the necessary steps to make its streets safer. Criminals will still find their way to Buckhead despite the change in mailing address.
Everyday citizens and the private sector want to directly participate in the fight for public safety. That’s why in the next legislative session I will be introducing a $250 million state tax credit targeted at lowering crime across our state.
The program is modeled after the successful Hospital Tax Credit Program that I created as a state representative. It allows any corporation or citizen to write a check directly to their local law enforcement agency – county sheriff or city police – and receive a 100% dollar-for-dollar state tax credit back. Each local law enforcement agency will only be allowed to put the money toward increasing current officer salaries, adding new officers and increasing officer training.
Thanks to pro-growth economic policies, Georgia has billions in reserves and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Our state can absorb the impact of the tax credit.
To solve our biggest problems, we should not always look to government alone. After all, the development of three life-saving COVID-19 vaccines occurred with the public and private sectors working hand-in-hand.
Most importantly, this proposal is something everyone should be able to rally around, left, right and center. Now that everyone outside of the far left agrees that defunding the police is the wrong approach, let’s think about how we refund our law enforcement agencies without adding to the debt or raising taxes. Allowing private citizens to play a role is a common sense step forward, and a win-win for everyone.
View the Lt. Governor’s full Fox News op-ed here.