- Costa Rica proposes a different way to allocate gambling taxes to train and educate police officers
- Police will learn how to interact with civilians if proposal passes legal review
- However, the proposal does not seem to focus on the most serious problem – police salaries
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Costa Rica seeks to make the most of its gambling funds and the tax levies that apply to it. Now, Assemblyman Gilbert Jimenez thinks he has an idea that will receive approval from fellow lawmakers and resonate positively with the general public. Jimenez wants some of the tax dollars that sports betting operations and casinos pay to fund police training.
Police officers will receive additional training
The idea is to give police officers the opportunity to enhance their careers or specialize in different career paths while having more incentive to fight crime. The proposal is still a bill and is currently under review. If passed, 50% of all gambling taxes collected will be allocated to police forces in each respective municipality where gambling operations operate.
The funding will seek to achieve various end goals, including investment in development programs, citizen stewardship of the environment, and a policing approach. Essentially, officers will learn more about how to interact with citizens and how to be better prepared to handle multiple situations in the field.
The rest of the gambling tax will go to the cantons with the lowest social development index. This is part of the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy’s desire to see Costa Rica overcome inequality and attempt to strengthen living conditions and career opportunities for older citizens. Gaming revenue can prove important to municipal budgets looking to ensure they have more funds to work around the problem.
Police salaries still below living conditions
But the planned changes are unlikely to result in higher salaries for police officers. They currently earn between $550 and $1,200 per month, currency fluctuations notwithstanding. This is a problem when the cost of living in Costa Rica is much higher, which means that the police earn much less than is necessary for a single person to live on.
Some lawmakers are aware, however, that more taxes need to be imposed on gambling operators – or so they believe. A previous attempt to add more taxes to lottery prizes was dropped by the Congressional Legal Affairs Committee earlier this year. In the meantime, the new proposal seems like a good step in the right direction, but what police officers might need in the end is more money to meet living costs rather than professional training. to interact with civilians.