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Thursday, June 6, 2024

General Assembly passes Tanzi-Sosnowski bill to give SK firefighters tax credit

If Charlestown starts now, we can get this done next year

The General Assembly approved legislation sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski and Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi to allow South Kingstown’s all-volunteer firefighting force to use a break on their district fire taxes to recruit and retain members.

“The Union Fire District has worked tirelessly on recruitment and retention efforts in recent years,” said Senator Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown). “And this bill will really help to support that goal, by implementing a policy that is not only a necessity, but one that shows the firefighting community how much we appreciate the time they give and the sacrifices they make to keep the district safe.”

The legislation (2024-S 26332024-H 7838) which will allow the Union Fire District of South Kingstown to grant district fire tax exemptions or abatements to current and retired firefighters and their spouses.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Charlestown has the same recruitment and retention problems as South Kingstown. To get credits for our brave firefighters, the town must first enact it and then get the General Assembly’s approval, as South Kingstown just did. This is a tax reform that’s long overdue.  – Will Collette

“We are very fortunate in South Kingstown to have an all-volunteer force of firefighters who provide excellent service to our residents,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett). “However, in recent years it has become more difficult for them to recruit volunteers. Allowing the district to grant tax exemptions will give them another important recruitment tool and show our community’s appreciation for the work that they do protecting us.”

Supporters of the bill point to the rising cost of housing making it harder to recruit and retain firefighters in the South Kingstown.

“As chief of the department, my goal is to retain enough people to protect the town of South Kingstown,” said Chief Steven Pinch of the Union Fire District. “We receive over 2,000 calls per year and we stay very busy, but it’s difficult to maintain the staff to respond to that level of call volume. We feel this bill will help us attract older firefighters with homes in town and retain younger ones as they settle down and are able to stay with us for a longer period of time.”

The identical House and Senate bills now head to the governor for his consideration.