On Monday, Supervisor Les Baugh (Shasta) testified before the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation in support of RCRC-sponsored Assembly Bill 2727 by Assembly Member Heath Flora (R-Stanislaus). AB 2727 provides a personal income tax credit for costs incurred for training and equipment by qualified firefighters.
Many rural fire districts rely upon the volunteer services of members from their communities to provide a critical public service, responding to structure fires and emergency response calls. In some parts of rural California, volunteer firefighters are the only local fire department.
Over the years, the training requirements and equipment for volunteer (and paid personnel) have increased in time and expense. While the fire districts generally provide the minimum training and safety equipment, often these individuals are not reimbursed for travel to the required training, and incur expenses on additional training or higher quality safety equipment. As such, it has become increasingly difficult for the rural fire districts to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters.
AB 2727 would provide a personal income tax credit up to 80 percent of the amount incurred by qualified firefighters, not to exceed $1,500 per year. The bill passed the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation, and now heads heads to back to the Assembly for a second review.