The Senate Finance Committee passed a measure Tuesday that will provide an income tax deduction for volunteer fire fighters, reserve police officers and reserve sheriff's deputies. House Bill 2073 is principally authored by Senator Jim Wilson (D-Tahlequah) and Representative Glen Smithson (D-Sallisaw).
"This is a great bill because it gives an incentive for people to get involved in their communities," said Wilson. "These people give their time and sometimes even risk their lives to protect their communities. I think that it is only right that we allow them this deduction, however small, as a token of our gratitude for their service. I hope this measure will help with recruitment and retention of these much-needed volunteers."
HB 2073 provides for a $500 income tax deduction for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2006. If approved by both houses and the Governor, the bill will go into effect January 1, 2007.
"A community benefits tremendously from having volunteer fire fighters as well as reserve police officers and sheriff's deputies. They not only save the community money and help keep insurance costs down, but they also help keep crime down," Wilson said.
The measure will next be considered by the full Senate.