Ashby Sponsors Legislation Which Would Exempt Volunteer Firefighters, Ems Personnel From Income Tax

Legislation is aimed at helping recruit volunteers for local fire departments

Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R,C,I,Ref-Castleton) is sponsoring legislation (A.7655) which would help recruit volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) providers by exempting them from state income tax. Upstate fire departments and ambulance corps are struggling to recruit volunteers to serve local communities. Providing an income tax exemption would be minimal in cost compared to what it would cost taxpayers in funding fully paid firefighter and EMS personnel.

“Our volunteer fire departments and ambulance corps do us a great service and save taxpayers a great deal in costs. These emergency response organizations, however, are struggling to recruit new volunteers,” said Ashby. “So we propose eliminating personal income taxes for those dedicated volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel as a thank you and as an incentive to recruit more people to serve our communities.”

“Our volunteer fire departments and ambulance corps do us a great service and save taxpayers a great deal in costs. These emergency response organizations, however, are struggling to recruit new volunteers,” said Ashby. “So we propose eliminating personal income taxes for those dedicated volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel as a thank you and as an incentive to recruit more people to serve our communities.”

Volunteer firefighters currently save taxpayers $3.87 billion annual. Currently, there are roughly 100,000 volunteer firefighters. It would take an additional 30,822 firefighters to ensure full-time coverage. In order to fully-fund paid fire departments, property taxes would need to increase by 26.5 percent.

In order to qualify for the exemption, a volunteer must:

  • Be in good standing;
  • Have one-year minimum of service;
  • Have completed all state mandated training courses;
  • Be certified by the chief emergency services coordinator of their county; and
  • Attend at least 55 percent of all activities.