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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 3, 2014 03:29 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker and Sen. Sean Wiley
To: All Senate members
Subject: Municipal Tax Credit for Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Technicians

Please join us in co-sponsoring a key public safety measure designed to help municipalities recruit, retain and reward volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service technicians.

The bill will grant municipalities that levy an earned income tax the option to waive that tax for volunteer firefighters and volunteers at nonprofit emergency medical service (EMS) agencies.

This legislation was prompted by numerous studies and a 2013 joint hearing on firefighter and EMT retention and recruitment by the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and the Majority Policy Committee. As the ranks of our volunteers plummet and strain our front-line response to tragedies, first responders have long advocated for an earned income tax credit as a valuable incentive.

Under the legislation, which amends Title 35 (Health and Safety), municipalities would have the power to set the amount of the tax credit, delineate the guidelines of the program, and specify the number of calls to which a volunteer first responder must respond. Again, municipalities would not be required to participate in the program; it would be purely optional.

Thank you for considering this legislation, which was Senate Bill 1342 of last session, and which is expected to be part of a package of incentives to bolster the rapidly declining ranks of our volunteer firefighters and EMTs.

Introduced as SB299