Illinois Lawmakers Propose Tax Credits to Address Firefighter Shortage Statewide

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This proposal follows a tragic incident on Interstate 55 where seven Illinois residents died, and multiple fire departments responded to the scene, relying heavily on volunteers to help in the recovery.

Tax Credits to Address Firefighter Shortage
Tax Credits to Address Firefighter Shortage ( Photo: WQAD )

Illinois lawmakers are pushing for a new tax credit to help address a shortage of firefighters across the state

Senate Bill 2253 is aimed at encouraging people to volunteer with their local fire departments by offering up to a $500 tax credit for those who choose to volunteer for at least nine months.

Margaret Vaughan of the Illinois Firefighters Association highlighted the public safety crisis in the state, saying that the number of emergency calls has tripled over the last 20 years, while the number of volunteers has dropped. State Sen. Steve McClure, D-Jacksonville, said the tax credit is a small but meaningful step in providing support to the state’s first responders.

McClure emphasized the importance of volunteer firefighters and said that this legislation would help ensure that they are adequately supported

State Sen. Christopher Belt, D-Swansea, said that 85% of Illinois fire departments rely on volunteer workers to keep people safe. He added that his goal is to encourage more people to volunteer through changes in the state’s budget. Belt is hopeful that the proposal will be included in the budget as the measure has bipartisan support.

On Tuesday, state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1750, which would reimburse the mandatory training expenses of an EMT, EMT-I, A-EMT, or paramedic employed by or under contract with the fire protection district. Together, these proposals could help address the shortage of firefighters in Illinois and provide support to those who are working to keep people safe.

 

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