Members of both parties in Richmond agree – state police and sheriffs need a raise, and many communities need money to repair or replace old schools.
Senator Creigh Deeds has a plan to pay for both, but he’s not sure fellow lawmakers will go along.
Senator Creigh Deeds has served in the General Assembly for thirty years, and as long as he can remember there’s been talk of giving sheriff’s deputies a raise. New hires earn, on average, less than $23,000 a year.
“Some of the legislature have talked about deputies who receive food stamps," he recalls. "They aren’t compensated very well, and it’s time for us to talk about ways to pay for it.”
His idea is to approve a small increase in Virginia’s income tax on people who can probably afford it.
“What I propose is that we raise the tax by .15 percent for those people who make more than $150,000 a year to provide law enforcement, state troopers and deputy sheriffs primarily, with a pay increase, and also use part of the money to set up a continuing revolving fund for school construction.”
Deeds says the need is greatest in rural communities with a small tax base and in poor urban areas, but so far he’s not getting much support from fellow lawmakers.
“I’m being attacked in the right, because I’m proposing raising taxes. I’m being attacked from the left because part of the money is going to our law enforcement community.”
And later this year members of the House Delegates will seek re-election, so Deeds figures few legislators from that side of the General Assembly will support any increase in taxes.