Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) Announces Support for Volunteer Recruitment and Retention Legislation

On October 16, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) held a press conference at the Southington (CT) Fire Department to announce his support for S. 933, the Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Reauthorization Act (VRIPRA) and S. 1911, the Volunteer Emergency Services Recruitment and Retention Act (VESRRA).
“Volunteer firefighters who donate their time should be exempt from taxes on the modest employee benefits they receive,” Blumenthal said. “Volunteer firefighters are in short supply and should not be short changed on benefits. Recruiting requires better incentives, and providing better benefits is cost effective and fair.”
A press release on Blumenthal’s web site cited a letter he received from Southington Fire Chief Harold Clark in August asking him to co-sponsor the S. 933 and S. 1911, which included talking points from the National Volunteer Fire Council’s (NVFC) Capwiz web site.
The Hartford Courant covered the press conference and interviewed NVFC Connecticut Director and Legislative Committee member Robert Guthrie on recruitment and retention incentives.
“It’s one tool we had to attract and retain volunteers,” Guthrie was quoted as saying. “True, it’s not a lot of money but it’s the right thing to do.”
S. 933/H.R. 2353 would extend an exemption that expired in 2010 on federal taxation of certain benefits that volunteer firefighters and EMTs receive as recruitment and retention incentives. S. 1911/H.R. 376 would simplify the way that length of service award programs (LOSAPs) – retirement accounts for volunteer emergency responders – are taxed to make it easier to administer and establish plans. Use the NVFC’s Capwiz service to contact your U.S. Representative and Senators to ask them to co-sponsor VRIPRA and VESRRA today!