A tax credit for volunteer firefighters is moving forward in the legislative process. Sponsored by Rep. Jodi Hack and ten other representatives, House Bill 3189 would give a $250 credit against income taxes that are due to volunteers who have given 100 hours of service, including training hours. The fire chief would certify that the volunteer qualifies and has given the hours. On March 30 the House Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee recommended that the bill be passed and sent it to Revenue. The next step will be to determine what the bill would cost and to find a way to provide those funds.
“Most of the time, tax credit money comes from altering or adjusting various sunsets of other tax credits. That’s probably where we’ll end up finding the revenue funds,” said Hack’s Chief of Staff, Morgan Conger. He said that the chair of Revenue, Rep. Phil Barnhart, has confirmed that he will give the bill a hearing if funds can be found.
In many rural fire districts, more than half of the firefighters are volunteers. “If these districts were to lose their volunteers, they would be rendered incapable of fulfilling their duties,” said Conger. The tax credit would be an incentive to keep firefighters in their current positions and encourage more people to join the ranks.
Representative Hack’s bill also competes with other tax credit proposals which are trying to be approved or increased within the overall limited state budget.