DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- State Sen. Sue Serino (R-Hyde Park) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would provide a tax credit for hunting and fishing license fees for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers.
"You cannot put a cost on the sacrifices our volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers make each and every day, risking their safety and their lives without compensation," said Serino. "I have heard from many that use hunting and fishing as a reprieve from the stress of their duties and providing a tax credit for the associated fees is the least that we can do to show our gratitude."
Earlier this month, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York released a report in which it estimates New York's 100,000 volunteer firefighters save state taxpayers over $3 billion a year.
"When we think about how much value our volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers bring to our communities, providing them this tax credit is a small price to pay to say thank you," Serino continued.
"I also hear time and time again from communities in desperate need of volunteer firefighters. We need to be looking for ways to attract and incentivize new people to volunteer and work on retaining the volunteers we already depend on. This bill is a step in the right direction, and I hope it will encourage even more individuals to get involved."
The bill was originally written to provide the licenses free of charge, but advocates were concerned that such a measure would result in a loss of funds dedicated to New York’s Conservation fund and that it would jeopardize the federal match awarded to the state. The bill was amended to provide a tax credit instead.
Specifically, the bill ( S. 6690-A ) grants a tax credit to volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers for the fee for fishing licenses, as well as for the hunting licenses for both small and big game, and it allows for any excess from the credit to be carried over to following years.