Congressman Hanna at Homer Fire Station to Promote Volunteer Tax Credit
Congressman Richard Hanna who represents Cortland and surrounding Counties stopped by the Homer Fire Department on Monday to announce a bill he is sponsoring that would provide a $1,000 federal tax credit to volunteer firefighters and emergency responders.
The Supporting Emergency Responders Volunteer Efforts Act of 2013 would create a $1,000 income tax credit for members of volunteer fire departments and emergency medical service organizations to help reimburse out-of-pocket expenses such as gas for personal vehicle use, training clothing and other equipment.
Hanna says his bill is meant to help boost volunteer recruitment.
Homer Fire Chief Mahlon Irish Jr. says while his 80 plus-member department has maintained steady numbers the past few years, the tax credit, in conjunction with the $200 tax credit already provided to volunteers by New York State would help attract new members and would also retain existing firefighters.
The proposal was originally introduced last year by former Congressman Maurice Hinchey, but failed to move through the House. Hanna is currently the sole sponsor of the bill, he is optimistic it will pass in the house and receive support in the senate. Hanna did not know what the tax credit might cost, but it is estimated that there are 750 thousand active volunteers in the country.