LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A portion of the Michigan sales tax would, for the first time, be diverted to beef up local law enforcement around the state based on the highest crime rates.

The Public Safety and Violence Prevention Fund would send part of the state sales tax to the communities with the highest crime rates.

If lawmakers approve it, the money can not be used to pay for current services.

“These funds are not to be used to replace current dollars. These can be things like youth, community non-profits,” said State Rep. Albas Farhat from Dearborn.

The dollars could also be used to beef up community policing efforts designed to let local residents get to know the cop on their beat. it could also be used to hire more detectives to work on more “complex crimes.”

It would also allocate funds to hire more mental health experts as 1/3 of all 911 calls in one community deal with mental issues.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has been under fire for an increase in crime in the Motor City. He argues the problem in part is COVID-19.

“For two years the criminal courts have been shut down,” he said.

Once this gets moving in the legislature, there will be some lawmakers who argue their areas are not getting any portion of this new program.

Another potential problem is 73% of the sales tax goes to schools and the education lobby may oppose this diversion of that tax to crime. In other words, this is not a done deal by any means.