Your recent editorial, More Volunteer Firefighters Needed, was right on point. Recruiting and retaining volunteers, and preserving the viability of small fire and ambulance units in rural areas, have been major concerns for many years.
The state Senate passed several key pieces of legislation, which will establish a $500 tax credit for fire and EMS volunteers, a tax credit for their employers, and a college tuition assistance program. In developing the new state budget, we succeeded in setting up the first financial incentive for volunteers – a $100 tax credit. Now the state House must act to make the credit permanent and increase the amount of assistance available in the future.
In communities across Pennsylvania, dedicated men and women give countless hours of their time, talent and energy to keep our communities and our neighbors safe. Without volunteers, the added taxpayer cost exceeds $6 billion annually. Without sufficient protective coverage, we risk untold personal loss and tragedy.
Your efforts to underscore the problem, and shine a spotlight on the steps we must take to address it, are important to strengthening our volunteer fire and emergency medical services system.
State Senator, 20th District
Chair, Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee
More Volunteer Firefighters Needed (Scranton Times-Tribune Editorial, July 17, 2008)
Contact: Brian Grove