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Pascrell Tax Deduction for First Responders Approved

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09)’s H.R. 5342, the Supporting America’s First Responders Act of 2019, was advanced by the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee as part of legislation to restore the state and local tax deduction. First responders, including police, firefighters, and EMTs, often have to pay for their own uniforms and the costs of uniform maintenance, paying out-of-pocket fees that range from $500 to $1,000, as well as for professional development courses that can average several hundred dollars.  This measure will amend the U.S. Tax Code to allow first responders to take tax deductions for their uniforms and for tuition or related fees for professional development courses.

“By putting their lives on the line, America’s first responders are heroes in every community in the United States,” said Rep. Pascrell, the co-chair of both the House Law Enforcement Caucus and the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “Allowing our first responders to recoup some of the costs they incur to protect us is a small measure that just makes sense. This legislation will signal again to our community heroes that we have their backs in Congress to help them to do their jobs.”

“Prior to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) in 2017, law enforcement officers were able to offset these substantial costs by deducting them from their taxable income. The elimination of these itemized deductions put an unfair financial burden on officers, who give up so much to protect and serve our communities.  The Supporting America’s First Responders Act of 2019 will amend this wrong by reinstating the deductions for certain, significant work-related out-of-pocket expenses.  The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) strongly supports this important legislation and thanks Congressman Pascrell for his leadership on this issue and his continued support of the first responder community,” said Bill Johnson, Executive Director, National Association of Police Organizations.

“As he always has, Congressman Bill Pascrell is once again showing that he has the backs of the men and women of the fire service and law enforcement,” said Eddie Donnelly, President of the NJ Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association. “This new deduction will help to negate the impact of changes to the tax code brought on by President Trump, and allow us to further invest in our professions.”

H.R. 5342 is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the New Jersey Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association, the International Association of Firefighters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the Sergeants’ Benevolent Association.

Throughout his time in the Congress, Rep. Pascrell has worked consistently to secure federal grants and funding for police, firefighters, and first responders. Pascrell authored the FIRE Act which led to creation of the Assistance for Firefighters Grants and SAFER firefighter staffing programs. In July 2018, Rep. Pascrell celebrated the signing into law of his Firefighter Cancer Registry Act (H.R. 931), which creates a national cancer registry for firefighters diagnosed with the deadly disease. Earlier this year, the President signed the Pascrell authored H.R. 2379, legislation renewing the bulletproof vest partnership grant program.

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