According to published reports, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin ruled that state Sen. Jason Rapert’s bill to offer law enforcement officers tax credits of up to $3,000 “was germane” to the special session’s overview.
However, the Senate voted to overturn Griffin’s ruling.
Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd, who is president of the Arkansas Sheriff Association, said he was a proponent of the tax credit.
The credit would have been based on how much an officer paid in state income tax, he said. If an officer only paid $1,000 in state taxes, that’s how much his credit would have been.
But Boyd said, although the tax credit would be beneficial, state and local lawmakers need to find a way to increase salaries for law enforcement officers. He said he spoke to Hutchinson on Tuesday morning about the issue.
The governor addressed the issue during a news conference later Tuesday.
“I fully support the increase in pay of our law enforcement officers. They are on the front line, we want to show our respect to them,” Hutchinson said. “We want to make sure they have an income that can provide for their family.
“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 our law enforcement pay is ranked 49th among all the states, well if you give a tax, income tax credit, that does not change that ranking. It does not change their salary. And we should worry about their low pay, but the answer is, let’s increase their salaries.