(Scroll for the breakdown as to just why this is such a fiscally responsible idea. The best explanation is at the bottom.)
In case you missed the headlines, some lawmakers are doing everything in their power to crank up taxes.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, recently made headlines by calling for a top marginal income tax rate of 70 percent in an interview with “60 Minutes.”
But her fellow freshman congresswoman, Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, suggested as high as 90 percent.
Yeahhh… ok. That’ll do a lot to stimulate the economy.
But what if we could give back to those who serve and protect, stimulate the economy and simultaneously help solve the problem of declining numbers of police officers?
I think it’s time to have a serious conversation about eliminating town property taxes for those who hold the thin blue line.
One of the biggest problems I hear from police departments across America is that they face a shortage of cops. With an increasing number of officers counting the minutes to retirement, it’s leaving America with a big problem – what happens when we run out of cops?
Fiscal incentives have long been used in both the public and the private sector.
In the military, pay earned in a designated combat zone isn’t taxable.
Aren’t the men and women who hold the thin blue line serving in a combat zone right here on the home front these days? With an increasing number of officers being shot, stabbed, run over, targeted and killed in the line of duty… the case sure can be made.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 150 police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2018.
And according to Blue H.E.L.P., at least 159 officers died by suicide in 2018.
These numbers aren’t even taking into consideration the number of officers wounded in the line of duty.
For as long as there’s been government, incentives have been given to convince people to take jobs. Tax abatement, paid college education, sign on bonuses, contract extension bonuses. Those sign on bonuses help convince people to accept positions that they might not have otherwise taken.
Let’s break down the data. According to Data USA, there are 744,674 police officers in the United States. The average age is 39.6-years-old. The average salary is $66,061, which breaks down to $67,032 for male police officers and $59,709 for female police officers.
In America, there are 84 million single-family homeowners who paid an average of $3,296 in property taxes per year.
Now keep in mind, not all police officers are homeowners.
In America in 2018, the homeownership rate was 64.2%.
Assuming that translates to policing, that’s approximately 478,081 homeowners.
Worst case scenario, we’d be looking at $1,575,754,976.
That sounds like a lot of money… until you break it down state by state. It’s an average of $31,515,100 per state.
Across the country nearly every day, cash and property are seized from criminals. Where that money goes depends on the state.
Why not allocate those funds to cover the property taxes of those who hold the thin blue line? It would absolutely help with the recruiting process. It would help put more money back into the pockets of our police officers and in turn, into the economy.
After all, haven’t they earned it?
Don’t look at it as charity – look at it as a long-term investment. After all, when you consider the costs of recruiting, hiring, equipping and fully training a police officer… the numbers start to make more sense. From the time someone submits their initial application to the time they can function independently, the process can take up to 18 months and the costs may exceed $100,000, according to PoliceFoundation.org.
Think about this for a second. 39.6 is the average age of a police officer. Let’s take on 30 years to that. With an average of $3,296 in property taxes per year, over 30 years, that’s STILL less than the $100,000 in recruiting, hiring and training costs.
Listen, I’m not a politician. I run a couple of companies for a living. I may not know the intricacies of how to pass legislation, but unlike most politicians, business owners are pretty good at figuring how how to actually pay for things.
But perhaps the most compelling argument? These men and women put on a bulletproof vest every day, kiss their families goodbye and go protect everyone in their community. I think it’s time we start protecting THEM.