Steele to introduce legislation for strengthening community safety

Would provide tax credit to those who serve

HARRISBURG, March 27 – State Rep. Mandy Steele, D-Allegheny, announced today that she will introduce legislation to provide tax credits for volunteer first responders, encouraging more people to serve.

“Recruitment and retention of volunteer first responders in our communities is vital,” Steele said. “Unfortunately, many volunteer companies and departments are suffering from the inability to recruit and retain the personnel needed to keep our communities healthy and safe.”

Her bill would create the A Volunteer First Responder Education Tax Credit Program, which will provide a scholarship of up to $5,000 to each active volunteer first responder who attends a Pennsylvania institution of higher learning on a full-time basis and $2,500 on a part-time basis.

In the 1970s, Pennsylvania had more than 300,000 volunteer firefighters, and that number has dwindled down to approximately 37,000, Steele noted.

“Even with the reduced numbers, everyone continues to depend on these hard-working and dedicated volunteers on a daily basis to protect them,” Steele said. “Providing this educational incentive would help to increase the number of volunteer first responders in our state, furthering the safety that our communities would have.”

Under the bill, businesses that contribute to a scholarship program at an institution of higher learning would be eligible for a tax credit.