Senate Approves Tax Credits for Fire & EMS Volunteers

Today, the Senate approved legislation to provide tax credits to Pennsylvania’s fire and emergency medical services community. The recruitment and retention package was introduced by Senator Lisa Baker to assist volunteer units, whose ranks have been diminishing at alarming rates.

“Our first responders said one of the best incentives we can offer is tax credits,” Baker said. “Today’s action by the Senate answers that call and helps to secure the future of the indispensable service they provide.”

Baker’s tax credit package includes two initiatives to assist in retaining existing volunteers and attracting new recruits:

  • A $500 personal income tax credit for active fire and EMS volunteers. This will be certified by a point system established by the state fire commissioner and the EMS director, and verified by the Secretary of Revenue. Volunteers may even use their tax credits like “rollover minutes” – if they can not use all of the credits in first year, they can save them for future years.

  • A $1000 tax credit for employers who hire active fire and EMS volunteers. This compensates for allowing these individuals to leave the workplace and respond to emergency calls and training. The credit could be applied toward an employer’s personal income tax, corporate net income tax, or capital stock and franchise tax and can not exceed $5,000 per year.

Baker pointed out that the case for maintaining Pennsylvania’s volunteer emergency service organizations can be made in terms of both public safety, and dollars and cents. “If we continue to lose our volunteers, the added taxpayer cost exceeds $6 billion annually. The cost to our families, friends and neighbors cannot be measured,” she said.

The Senate also passed a measure to provide a 50 percent tuition reimbursement for student volunteers, which would be paid directly to the college or university. All three bills now move to the House for consideration.


Lee Ann Labecki (717) 787-7428

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