Lawmaker Proposes Tax Holiday For First Responders, Medical Professionals
Washington, DC – A congressman from Michigan has proposed legislation that would give first responders a four-month federal tax holiday to show appreciation for their heroic efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga (R–Michigan) introduced the Helping Emergency Responders Overcome Emergency Situations (HEROES) Act of 2020 on Friday, according to a press release on his official website.
The tax break would go to medical professionals and first responders including police, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, correction officers, pharmacists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, hospital and licensed medical facility support staff, and senior care facility staff.
“Medical professionals and first responders across America are serving on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus,” Huizenga said. “The HEROES Act provides a way for the federal government to say thank you for the courage, dedication, and care given by these individuals in the face of the unprecedented threat posed by the coronavirus.”
The legislation is modeled after the exemptions given to members of the military while they are serving in combat zones, according to the press release.
Huizenga’s bill also gives U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin the authority to extend the tax exemption for up to three additional months, if needed.
The congressman’s home state of Michigan is a coronavirus hotspot, FOX News reported.
"If this really is a war that we're in, let's treat it like that," Huizenga said. "Let's give those men and women that are on the front lines... the full support of the federal government. This is a small way of saying thank you for their work at this critical time."
Huizenga has said he expects bipartisan support for the HEROES Act and hoped to pass it quickly as a stand-alone measure, rather than letting it get bogged down in the fourth wave of coronavirus stimulus legislation.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) has floated the idea of the federal government awarding hazard pay to first responders, FOX News reported.
Huizenga said the HEROES Act would accomplish the same goal without the added red tape.
"These are really the people that are on the front lines," the congressman said. "They're in a combat zone."
The tax holiday would apply to income earned up to $150,000 annually, and any income above that amount would be taxed at the regular rate, FOX News reported.