Editor: Since my letter to the editor, "Tax For Cop Salaries Doesn’t Work For Him," in the Jan. 29 edition of the Courier, I have received several communications from folks thinking I am not in support of a fair wage for police officers.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m now retired but I was the police for 40 years, twenty with The Hinesville Police Department, and so give cops my full 100 percent support in every area.
The Hinesville Police are in dire need of a pay adjustment. They have recently gone several years without longevity and cost of living adjustments that have put them behind the power curve.
Additionally, the officers are required to purchase and maintain their own uniforms and equipment to include their handgun. Likewise, the stipend for this has not been adjusted since 1976. When I retired 10 years ago the allowance did not even come close to the uniform and equipment purchases, upkeep, cleaning and replacement.
My beef is not that the officers don’t need a raise, but the method in which the powers to be seem to want to go about it. This pie in the sky 1 percent additional state wide COP sales tax would generate over $1-1/5 billion.
That’s billion with a "B."
A ton of money more than needed to adjust the salaries of police officers, and for that matter corrections officers, fire fighters and EMS responders.
So, this over taxed citizen sees it as a sleight of the hand to raise funds for other (and I don’t know what) items.
We have renewed the SPLOST, the governor is talking a TSPLOST, the sheriffs are campaigning for a COP Tax and our local money grabbers have reached across the fence and are trying to tax property on Fort Stewart with no intentions of providing any services that are the basis for tax collections. It is not a contest to see who can levy a new tax the quickest; the drill is to be frugal with our tax dollars. I don’t want to sound like a broken record but we waste, no change that, we blow money in our community; empty buses, an airport with no flights, government retreats to Saint Simon’s Island, government buildings that rival the Roman Forum and the list goes on. These are the reasons our governmental salaries are behind the power curve.
So let it be said that Joe Gillam is in favor of COPs and other first responders and for that matter all government employees receiving a fair and equitable salary. Simply stated, I think we need to double down on our budget process and realign our priorities. Raising taxes in some willy-nilly fashion is not how government should be run.