Pennsylvania municipalities with a shortage of volunteer firefighters could eventually have a new recruiting tool.
Two state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow municipalities to waive local earned income taxes for volunteer first responders — including those at nonprofit EMS agencies — whose ranks have plummeted from 300,000 to 50,000 over three decades.
Growing the numbers of volunteers could stave off another, more expensive solution, according to a news release from the bill sponsors, state Sens. Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne, and Sean Wiley, D-Erie.
“If every local government in Pennsylvania had to convert to a paid firefighting force, it would cost an estimated $6 billion,” Baker said in a statement. “Giving firefighters a small break on their local taxes is a simple benefit that will compensate them in some small measure for their priceless life-saving work.”