Volunteer Firefighters, Ambulance Workers To Receive Funds

Budget includes tax credits, scholarships

The New York State Legislature, in its final budget proposal, is including a volunteer firefighter and ambulance worker tax credit. A volunteer firefighter scholarship program has also been accepted.

In total, these programs will save volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers $29 million in education costs and property taxes.

The volunteer firefighter and ambulance worker tax credit creates a personal income tax credit of $200 for all active volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers who were in active duty for the entire year starting in 2007.

A taxpayer is not eligible for the credit if they already receive a real property tax exemption as a result of their service as a volunteer firefighter or volunteer ambulance worker.

The Volunteer Firefighter Scholarship program totals $4 million. Only volunteer firefighters are eligible for the scholarship after being nominated by the department chief

"The tax credit and scholarship fund is very important to our local heroes," said Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia). "The men and women who are trained to save our lives in times of emergency deserve every opportunity to alleviate the burden of high property taxes and soaring education costs."

The Assembly minority conference has been diligent in their efforts to lower property taxes in this year’s budget. $1.7 billion in real property tax relief will be granted over the course of the next two years. "The property tax relief in this budget is a good start, but by no means is it an ending point," said Hawley. "We will continue this debate and make sure our citizens are not being forced from their homes because their property taxes are too high."