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Brass In Favor Of Offering O-LOST To Pay For Local Law Enforcement Pay Raises

State legislators continue to look at ways to drum up funding to bring pay raises for public safety officials on the local level.
 
Earlier this year, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal called for pay increases for law enforcement on the state level. This leaves quite a gap in pay between local and state officers.
“Law enforcement as a whole is definitely underpaid. The governor took this step because it was really all that he could control. The state officers pay was really all he could affect,” District 28 Senator Matt Brass said to WLBB Radio this week. “Do our local sheriff’s offices and local police have reason to be concerned? Yeah. Because the proposal would have state patrol officers starting pay at a little north of $46k annually. Starting pay for deputy sheriff is around $29,900k. With about $17k difference in starting salary, a young person interested in getting into law enforcement will obviously look to the state patrol first.”
 
The Georgia Sheriff’s Association is asking legislators to come up with a plan to make that pay gap smaller.
 
“The Sheriff’s Association started the conversation and it’s a conversation that needed to be started. Originally they had suggested to us to propose a mandate on minimum salaries. Our concern there was if you mandate a minimum salary that still doesn’t mandate the county to increase their budget. So, basically the mandate would result in counties having to cut staff… and obviously we didn’t want that,” Brass explained. “We are now looking at the idea of O-LOST. Basically, this is a local option sales tax designated specifically for salaries of the sheriff’s department, police department and fire department. I think that’s an option because residents can vote on this county by county.”
 
Brass says some county officials around the state have expressed concern with this idea because they believe it may somehow cut into existing SPLOSTs.
 
No legislator has presented a final bill at this point but Brass believes if legislators allow local governments the O-LOST option, half-a-cent could cover the need, rather than a full penny tax.
 
If an O-LOST plan is approved by legislators, county voters could then decide whether or not to charge the tax in their own county.
Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
People : Matt BrassNathan Deal