Proposed state legislation would offer state tax exemption to volunteer first responders

ALBANY – State Assemblyman Karl Brabenec (R, Deerpark) is among the cosponsors of legislation that would allow volunteer firefighters and emergency services workers to be exempt from paying state income taxes provided they meet training, time of service and attendance requirements in the legislation.

“At this critical time for our volunteer fire departments, it is important we give them the support they need to incentivize recruitment and retention of volunteers,” said Brabenec. “These public services put their lives on the line for our communities, they keep our neighborhoods safe and for that they deserve something in return.”

The lawmaker said volunteer fire departments and emergency services teams “are being saddled with extraordinary debt.” He said the cost of replacing equipment, vehicles and other resources during an increase in calls due to the opioid epidemic is becoming “overwhelming.”

Brabenec said without a helping hand in their time of need, “the day might come when our volunteer departments might have to close their doors.”

First responder requirements to be eligible for an income tax exemption:

  • Attend at least 55 percent of department activities
  • Have a minimum one year of service with the department
  • Be certified by the chief emergency service coordinator of their county
  • Be in good standing

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