California Professional Firefighters

CPF-Backed Legislation Introduced to Extend Memorial Tax Check-off

Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Ontario)Legislation allowing Californians to continue honoring the memory – and helping the surviving families – of fallen public safety officers was introduced earlier today in the California Assembly.

Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Ontario) is authoring AB 1561 to extend the sunset date of the state’s voluntary personal income tax check-offs for the California Firefighters Memorial Fund, as well as that of the California Peace Officer Memorial Fund. The voluntary income tax check-offs on the California State tax return -- which expire after 2015 unless AB 1561 is enacted to extend them -- help fund programs and services that assist the families of fallen firefighters and police officers. The California Firefighters Memorial Fund also supports the construction and ongoing maintenance of the California Firefighters Memorial in Sacramento.

“There is no way we can repay those who have given their lives in the service of others,” said Lou Paulson, Chair of the California Fire Foundation. “By placing their names on permanent display, and by continuing to support their survivors, the tax check-off helps all Californians to remember the heroes that sacrificed so much for so many.”

The California Fire Foundation, a statewide non-profit 501(c)(3) organization aiding fallen firefighter families, firefighters and the communities they protect, has been at the center of California’s commitment to honoring firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty. Through the voluntary tax check-off, generous Californians helped the Foundation build the California Firefighters Memorial in Capitol Park. Their generosity also supports the continued maintenance and repair of the Memorial for the thousands who visit each year, and helps fund the annual California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony.

Currently, the names of 1,265 California firefighters who have died in the line of duty are inscribed on the California Firefighters Memorial Wall, and on average, 20-30 new names are added annually. Each year, the California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony pays tribute to those who have paid the ultimate price, including a solemn commemoration for newly added names to the stunning Memorial Wall.

More importantly, the state’s voluntary income tax income check-off helps aid hundreds of surviving loved ones and comrades, including educational benefits for the children of fallen firefighters and the publication of an informational guide detailing survivor benefits to assist the spouses and children of fallen firefighters. The California Peace Officers Memorial check-off also underwrites similar services for the survivors of fallen law enforcement officers.

“Extending these voluntary state income tax check-offs will ensure that these important tributes remain sacred ground to remember the sacrifices of California’s bravest and that their families are never forgotten,” said Paulson. “We are grateful to Assemblymember Rodriguez for his support in carrying this legislation.”


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