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Sen. Ritchie advocates increased tax credit for volunteers

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CANTON - State Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, has introduced a bill that aims to give a state income tax credit of up to $1,200 to volunteer firefighters and first responders who are in good standing with their departments.

Volunteers now are eligible for a $200 state income tax credit and can claim a credit on property tax.

The bill targets many younger volunteers who do not own homes and thus are not eligible for the property tax credit.

It has yet to receive the backing of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, an advocacy group for volunteer firefighters. The group tends to shy away from legislation that could be perceived as an unfunded mandate.

Thomas M. Arsenault, a member of FASNY’s legislative committee, said the group has been “diligent on trying to do legislation that doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything in this economy.”

FASNY lobbyist Peter B. O’Connell said the group would monitor the bill to see whether it is picked up by a committee. It was referred to the Investigations and Government Operations Committee earlier this month.

Volunteer firefighters and members of ambulance corps do not receive any direct monetary compensation for their service.

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