Volunteer firefighters would get a small break on their taxes under a new bill in the Pennsylvania legislature.
Sens. Lisa Baker (R-20) and Sean Wiley (D-49) have introduced a proposal that would give municipalities the power to waive their local earned income tax for volunteer first responders.
In Dauphin County, Susquehanna Township has three volunteer fire companies and more than 70 volunteer fire firefighters.
Rod Calhoun of Rescue 37 says volunteering is time consuming and he has
seen a steady decline in volunteers since he joined 20 years ago.
effort will cover all volunteer first responders. If the bill passes,
municipalities will have the option to participate or not and they can
set guidelines that volunteers need to meet be eligible.
Senator Wiley says the bill has support from both sides of the aisle, and he expects it to get passed by the end of June.
Baker and Wiley said the bill is expected to be part of a larger package of incentives to fill the rapidly declining ranks of Pennsylvania's volunteer firefighters and EMTs, which have dropped from 300,000 to 50,000 in 30 years.