Martin’s Proposal Supporting Volunteer Fire Companies Signed Into Law

HARRISBURG – Volunteer fire companies will be able to keep more of the money they bring in during fundraisers thanks to a proposal that was signed into law this week, according to the measure’s author, Senator Scott Martin (R-13).

Martin introduced a bill earlier this year that would exempt volunteer fire companies from paying sales tax on food and beverages sold during fundraising events, such as chicken barbeques and pancake breakfasts. Language from Martin’s bill was included in a budget-related bill that was signed into law along with the 2019-20 state budget plan on Friday.

Under previous law, volunteer fire companies paid the sales tax on all prepared food sales during fundraising events. Exempting these events from the sales tax would mirror the approach the state takes toward similar fundraising efforts, such as school sports booster clubs, Martin said.

“Some fire companies were forced to pay thousands of dollars in sales taxes to the state instead of being able to put that money to good use in acquiring the equipment and training they need to keep us safe,” Martin said. “I am thankful that this new law will help make their job a little easier by making sure they get to keep more of the money they raise instead of sending it to Harrisburg.”

Martin said the legislation was a priority for local fire companies because the cost of firefighting equipment and training continues to rise, while the number of volunteers continues to decline. On average, the cost of equipment increases by 4.5 percent every year.

The new law exempting volunteer fire companies from paying sales tax on food and drinks sold during fundraisers goes into effect beginning on January 1, 2020.

CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535

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