"As you may know, our need for volunteer emergency service personnel is at an all-time high," state Rep. William C. Kortz II said in a news release on Tuesday. "I'm pleased to share news with you that the state House (of Representatives) unanimously passed a bill (yesterday) that would offer tax credits to volunteer first responders."
Kortz, a Democrat from Pennsylvania's 38th House District, which includes south Baldwin Borough; and Harry A. Readshaw, a Democrat whose 36th District includes parts of Baldwin and Whitehall boroughs, were two sponsors of the bill—No. 142—which would allow local municipalities to institute a tax credit for volunteer firefighters and rescue personnel.
"Tax credits can serve as a recruitment tool for local first response companies," Kortz said in the release, "many of which often struggle to retain volunteer firefighters and EMS (emergency medical services) crew.
"At the same time, it serves as a small token of appreciation for these brave men and women who risk their lives to save others."
The bill would establish what would be known as the Municipal Volunteers of Fire Companies, Ambulance Services and Rescue Companies Incentive Act, and it would allow local governments and school districts to provide earned income and/or property tax credits for qualified, active volunteers as a financial incentive for recruitment and retention.
The tax credits would be available only to active members of a volunteer fire company, volunteer ambulance service or volunteer rescue company.
The bill has moved on to the state Senate for further consideration.
Sign up for the daily Baldwin-Whitehall newsletter.