As part of the ongoing efforts to shore up the ranks of New Jersey’s volunteer firefighter, first aid and rescue squad crews, and give those volunteers some level of compensation for the hard work they do, the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee advanced bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal, Senator Christopher Connors, and Senator Kristin Corrado, to allow first responders in the state to take a $2,000 exemption as a deduction from their New Jersey State income tax.
“Emergency services volunteers are an invaluable resource in towns across New Jersey, yet we need more of them,” Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth), said in a statement.
“By offering this tax exemption, we hope to provide an incentive for more residents to become active volunteers, and also encourage those already volunteering to continue to do so.”
Under the bill, to be eligible, first aid and rescue squad members must have performed 10 percent of rescue duty, and by January 1st of the tax year either have passed a training program approved by the New Jersey First Aid Council or qualified as an emergency medical technician according to the standards established by the Department of Health.
Regarding firefighters, to be eligible they must have performed 60 percent of fire duty, and by January 1st of the tax year attained either the rank of Firefighter I Certified according to the standards established by the International Fire Service Training Association or equivalent standards approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.
This bill is separate a from a proposed constitutional amendment in New Jersey which would authorize municipalities to provide a property tax credit to volunteer firefighters or volunteer first aid squad members, including Hatzolah members, of up to 100% for their primary residence.
The bill was released from committee on a vote of 4-0.