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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 3, 2018 01:04 PM
From: Senator Scott Martin
To: All Senate members
Subject: Volunteer Fire Company Sales Tax Exemption on Prepared Foods
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation exempting volunteer fire companies throughout the Commonwealth from remitting sales tax on food and beverages sold for fundraising efforts.

Pennsylvania has approximately 2,100 volunteer fire companies and it is no secret the number of local volunteers has been declining for some time. The cost of equipment used to fight fires and protect our communities grows by 4.5 percent a year. Costs associated with the cancer preemption law, otherwise known as Act 46 of 2011, has placed an additional financial burden on fire companies. The average volunteer fire fighter will spend 100 hours per year fundraising in addition to the hundreds of hours spent training, attending meetings, and cleaning and maintaining the equipment.

As an example of the necessity for this legislation, a local volunteer fire company in my district plans to replace their 27 year old tanker which will cost approximately $750,000-$800,000. To pay for this much needed update, the volunteers organize various fundraising efforts but they all involve the sale of prepared foods – which is taxable. The fire company estimates that $15,000-$18,000 of what they raise to pay for the new tanker will have to be remitted back to the state.

I find it counterproductive for these volunteers to be spending their time and energy soliciting donations on behalf of an organization whose sole purpose is to serve the community, only to have to send thousands of dollars to the state coffers.

Senate Bill 952 received unanimous bipartisan support in committee last session and was cosponsored by Senators Folmer, Greenleaf, Aument, Brewster, Vulakovich, Hutchinson, Costa, Rafferty, Reschenthaler, Brooks, White, Vogel, McIlhinney, Ward, Stefano and Yudichak.

Introduced as SB83