Possible tax credit for certified volunteer firefighters in KY

By: Jerrika Insco Email
By: Jerrika Insco Email

If passed, a bill filed by State Representative Michael Meredith would create a 1,000 dollar refundable tax credit for any certified volunteer firefighter in Kentucky.

The only requirement is the firefighter must be certified completing 150 hours set by the state fire commission.

For dedicated volunteer fire fighters, it is a 24/7 job without pay but a bill could change that.

"I feel like this is something that is long overdue, and that it's time that someone takes initiative to try to help us out like this," said Battalion Chief Jason Nolan at the Manchester Fire Department.

Representative Meredith hopes the tax credit could be used as a recruitment tool.

"It's hard for them to recruit people, and it's hard for them to retain people a lot of times because they don't get anything for their time many times," said Representative Meredith.

Volunteers agree that this bill would be a great benefit for a thankless job.

"It's so hard to get somebody to come out and volunteer, but this maybe a little incentive for them to come out and help their community," said Fire Chief Jamey Mills at the Manchester Fire Department.

Volunteer fire departments serve the majority of Kentucky, especially rural areas.

With more than 100 volunteer fire departments in Eastern Kentucky, the tax credit would impact hundreds of volunteer firefighters.

Just at the Manchester Fire Department, the fire chief says 20 fire fighters would be eligible.

"Any time someone recognizes the need to want to help the volunteer fire fighters it's great. I'm 100% behind this bill because it's a great bill," said Chief Mills.

If passed, the tax credit will help fire volunteers beginning on January 1, 2013.

Representative Meredith says paid firefighters employed by a city but who also volunteer during their off hours are also eligible for this tax credit if the bill is passed.

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