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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 16, 2022 01:39 PM
From: Representative Brad Roae
To: All House members
Subject: EMS Legislation
Property tax increases are the only legal way that most municipalities can help pay for the costs to fund their local EMS services and I want to provide other options.  

My proposed legislation would give municipalities three additional options:
  • A monthly fee on cell phones and other devices dedicated to EMS only. 
  • A per capita tax dedicated to EMS only.
  • Increase the amount of Local Services Tax and dedicate it to EMS only.
Almost everyone has a cell phone and a good per capita list includes everyone.  Municipalities that want to have everyone help fund EMS should have those options.   
Currently municipalities have just one option.  They can charge 2 mils on property taxes to fund EMS.  That option would remain so they would have three options to choose from.  
This could be a 50-page memo explaining it in full detail, but the bottom line is without municipalities contributing financially to their EMS providers many will soon not have EMS providers.   
Higher wages, more expensive health insurance, a doubling of diesel fuel prices, huge price increases for ambulances and repair parts, higher medical supply costs, higher utility bills, etc. is resulting in the expenses exceeding the revenues.  In many areas Medicaid and Medicare pays for over 3/4 of all ambulance calls and those rates are lower than what the costs are.  They make money on calls covered by people with employer-based health insurance but those are only about 1/4 of the calls.   

Many EMS organizations are now burning through their reserves accumulated over decades and will soon be insolvent.   
Things like EMS, fire, police, streets, parks, etc. are municipal functions and most municipalities fund all of those things, except EMS.  Most municipal budgets are right at revenue and expenses being equal.  Rather than forcing them to increase property taxes to save EMS, we should make these other two options legal.  

I would greatly appreciate your co-sponsorship of this legislation.