Gov Okays Seward Firefighter Bill

James L. Seward

August 24, 2007

The governor has signed legislation sponsored by State Senator James L. Seward that will help protect certain firefighters' state tax credits. Seward is chairman of the Senate Majority Task Force on Voluntary Emergency Services.

"The new law will help our upstate volunteers in fire and emergency services," Seward said. "Our volunteers do a great job in our rural areas for little or no compensation, and they need to be supported. The bill signed by the governor will help encourage voluntarism and thus help keep our rural communities safe."

Senate bill 3944 , now Chapter 532 of the Laws of 2007, protects voluntary firefighters or ambulance workers who get a local property tax break from a one-time disqualification for the state income tax credit. The bill ensures that those who receive a real property tax break for their voluntary fire/EMS service are not prevented from receiving the state income tax credit for 2007. The law previously allowed one or the other, not both. Volunteers must be given additional time to alert their assessors that they wish to discontinue the real property tax exemption.

The bill was sponsored in the assembly by Assemblywoman Galef.