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    Default IAFF Issues Book

    Maybe the IAFF isn't totally against volunteering, unless I am reading this wrong. The following is the "Firefighters Issues Book" for the 110th congress first session. In one of the sections, it seems to say that the proposed bill would not restrict someone from volunteering.
    In section 5 it gives yes no answers to which the last item is checked NO. This means that the PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE COOPERATION ACT would not restrict volunteering. Maybe I have read this wrong.

    I am sorry but the check marks for yes and no do not appear.


    IINTTEERRNAATTIIONAALL AASSSSOCCIIAATTIION OFF FFIIRREE FFIIGHTTEERRSS,, AAFFLL--CCIIO
    I A F F A L W A Y S O N T H E F R O N T L I N E

    INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE FIGHTERS
    HAROLD A. SCHAITBERGER VINCENT J. BOLLON
    General President General Secretary Treasurer
    February 23, 2007
    Dear Member of Congress:
    On behalf of the more than 280,000 men and women of the International
    Association of Fire Fighters, I am pleased to provide you with a copy of our
    2007 Issues Book. The first session of the 110th Congress is expected to
    address many issues of concern to the nation’s first responders, and this briefing
    book is intended to provide you with a better understanding of the IAFF’s
    positions on the vital issues before you.
    On March 11-14, more than 1,000 fire fighters and emergency medical personnel
    from across the nation will come to Washington, DC to attend the IAFF annual
    Legislative Conference and meet with their elected representatives. I hope
    you will have the opportunity to meet with your fire fighter-constituents to discuss
    the issues described on these pages, and that you will continue to seek the
    perspective of our nation’s frontline domestic defenders on legislative matters
    in the months ahead.
    I thank you in advance for your consideration of these issues and our positions.
    The IAFF Department of Governmental Affairs stands ready to assist you and
    your staff throughout the year. Please do not hesitate to call on us. We look
    forward to a cooperative and productive legislative session.
    Sincerely,
    Harold A. Schaitberger
    General President
    1750 New York Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006-5395

    IAFF LEGISLATIVE ISSUES BOOK
    110th Congress - First Session
    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    ISSUE PAGE
    Collective Bargaining
    Fact Sheet 4
    Key Points 5
    Requirements of the Legislation 6
    Implementing the Legislation 7
    Health Insurance for Early Retirees
    Fact Sheet 8
    Key Points 9
    Funding for SAFER
    Fact Sheet 10
    Key Points 11
    Alternative Minimum Tax
    Fact Sheet 12
    Key Points 13
    Federal Fire Fighter Presumptive Disability
    Fact Sheet 14
    Key Points 15
    3
    IAFF LEGISLATIVE FACT SHEET
    COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
    The IAFF strongly supports the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act and encourages members
    of Congress to sign on as cosponsors of the bill.
    BACKGROUND
    Fire and police departments benefit immeasurably from productive partnerships between employers and
    employees. Studies have shown that communities promoting such cooperation enjoy more effective and efficient
    delivery of emergency services. Such cooperation, however, is undermined in states that do not provide public
    safety employees with the fundamental right to bargain with their employers.
    Over the years, Congress has expanded the scope of collective bargaining laws to protect private sector
    employees, non-profit association employees, transportation workers, federal government employees and, most
    recently, congressional employees. One of the few groups of workers not covered by federal law is state and
    local government employees, including public safety officers.
    While Congress has historically given states and localities wide latitude in managing their own employees, the
    increasing role of the public safety community in homeland security creates an obligation for the federal
    government to ensure that public safety officers have basic collective bargaining rights.
    CURRENT LEGISLATION
    U.S. House: H.R. 980, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act
    Sponsors: Representative Dale Kildee (D-MI)
    Representative John Duncan (R-TN)
    Summary: H.R. 980 would grant public safety officers minimum collective bargaining rights in states that
    currently don’t have them. The bill would establish minimum standards for state collective
    bargaining laws, including:
    • the right of public safety officers to bargain over wages, hours and working conditions;
    • a dispute resolution mechanism, such as fact finding or mediation; and
    • enforcement of contracts through state courts
    The legislation expressly prohibits strikes and lockouts; does not infringe on right-to-work laws;
    and does not interfere with existing state laws and collective bargaining agreements.
    CONGRESSIONAL ACTION
    On February 12, 2007, H.R. 980 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and referred to the
    Committee on Education and Labor.
    The Senate version of the legislation will be introduced by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Edward Kennedy
    (D-MA).
    4
    KEY POINTS
    COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
    • Fire fighters, police officers and emergency medical personnel deserve the same right to
    discuss workplace issues with their employer that the federal government already grants to
    most employees. As evidenced by the tragic events of September 11, these public safety
    officers risk their lives every day to protect the public, and they should be allowed to bargain
    over their working conditions.
    • The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act would not allow the federal government
    to interfere with state and local government matters. The bill simply establishes basic minimum
    standards which state laws must meet. The implementation and enforcement of those laws
    are left entirely to the states.
    • Most states already meet or exceed the basic collective bargaining rights established under
    the legislation, and would be exempt from its provisions. The bill provides such states with
    maximum flexibility to ensure that all public safety officers in states and localities that already
    provide collective bargaining rights are not adversely impacted.
    • The bill expressly preserves state right-to-work laws and protects the rights of volunteer fire
    fighters.
    • Labor-management partnerships, which are built on bargaining relationships, enhance public
    safety. Studies show that cooperation between public safety employers and employees reduces
    fire fighter fatalities and improves fire protection services.
    • Cooperation between public safety employers and employees makes fire departments more
    effective by enabling rank-and-file workers to provide input into the most efficient methods of
    providing services.
    • A nationwide poll found that voters overwhelmingly – by more than three to one – support
    federal legislation to grant fire fighters bargaining rights. This support cuts across party,
    geographic and demographic lines.
    • Given the unique responsibilities of the public safety community, the bill specifically outlaws
    strikes by fire fighters, police officers and emergency medical personnel. Moreover, collective
    bargaining laws prevent strikes by providing a forum for public safety officers to express their
    views.
    5
    PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE COOPERATION ACT
    WHAT DOES THE BILL REQUIRE?
    YES
    NO
    Public Safety Officers Permitted to Form and Join a Union
    ��
    Management Must Meet with Employee Representatives
    ��
    Bargaining over Hours, Wages & Working Conditions
    ��
    Impasse Resolution Procedures
    ��
    Legally Binding Contracts
    ��
    Preserves Management Rights
    ��
    Agreement Can be Imposed on Management
    ��
    Binding Arbitration
    ��
    Right to Strike
    ��
    Card-Check Process for Forming a Union
    ��
    Replaces Existing State and Local Collective Bargaining Laws
    ��
    Overturns “Right-to-Work” Laws
    ��
    Restricts the Right to Volunteer
    ��
    6
    How it Works: Implementing the Public Safety
    Employer-Employee Cooperation Act
    Rather than imposing a single federal labor relations law on all states, the goal of the legislation
    is to have 50 state laws that are administered by state agencies and enforced by state courts.
    Ideally, the legislation will ultimately require no direct federal involvement in state labor relations.
    To make this happen, the legislation lists the minimum standards necessary for collective
    bargaining: (1) the right of workers to form a union and bargain over working conditions; (2)
    an impasse resolution mechanism, such as mediation, fact finding or arbitration; and (3) the
    ability of the two parties to sign legally enforceable contracts.
    The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), an agency with decades of experience in
    public sector labor relations, would review existing state laws to determine if they meet these
    basic minimum standards. FLRA would issue its determination within 180 days of enactment.
    States that are found to already provide these basic rights—as most do—would be exempt
    from any further federal oversight, as long as they maintain their law.
    States found to be not in compliance would be given 18 months after the FLRA determination
    to adopt a new law or amend their existing law. In many cases, only a minor change would be
    necessary to bring the state law into full compliance.
    Those states that opt not to administer their own collective bargaining law would come under
    the jurisdiction of the FLRA. Under that scenario, FLRA would issue regulations that will
    function as labor law in these states, and the agency would serve as the labor board for public
    safety employers and employees. FLRA would immediately lose jurisdiction in any state that
    subsequently adopts a bargaining law.
    In order to accommodate states that wish to leave this decision up to localities, FLRA would
    give local ordinances the same deference as state laws. In states that opt not to enact a
    statewide law, FLRA’s authority would be limited solely to those jurisdictions where public
    safety officers do not have minimum bargaining rights.
    7
    IAFF LEGISLATIVE FACT SHEET
    HEALTH INSURANCE FOR EARLY RETIREES
    The IAFF supports legislation that provides more health insurance options for early retirees.
    BACKGROUND
    According to current estimates, 46 million - or one in six Americans - lack health insurance. The
    emerging health insurance crisis in this country endangers the health of the uninsured and increases
    health care costs for all Americans. One of the largest groups of uninsured Americans is early retirees
    - those who leave the workforce before becoming eligible for Medicare coverage. A staggering four
    million uninsured Americans are early retirees.
    Early retiree access to health insurance is especially important to professional fire fighters because
    they retire earlier than other occupations. Not only do fire fighters often lose their health insurance
    when they retire, but they also find it more difficult than other Americans to purchase affordable health
    insurance because of health ailments unique to the fire service caused by long-term occupational
    exposure to toxins, smoke, stress and extreme physical exertion.
    Fire fighters are particularly impacted by the large number of uninsured Americans because fire
    departments are the nation’s primary provider of pre-hospital medical care and emergency transport.
    The uninsured are far more likely to use emergency care services for their health care needs than
    those with insurance, imposing greater demands upon fire departments already overwhelmed by
    rescue and homeland security duties. The International Association of Fire Fighters has long supported
    expanding access to health insurance for all Americans, and has been particularly engaged in providing
    more health insurance options for early retirees.
    CURRENT LEGISLATION
    Several legislative proposals have been advanced in recent years to give early retirees more health
    insurance options. One such proposal in the last Congress, the Medicare Early Access Act, would
    give people ages 55 to 64 the option to buy Medicare coverage. The bill would:
    • give four million uninsured early retirees over age 54 the option to enroll in Medicare;
    • give early retirees a refundable tax credit to offset a portion of their Medicare premiums; and
    • allow early retirees who have employer-provided retiree health coverage to enroll in Medicare
    whereby their employer coverage would “wrap around” Medicare or, in other words, pay for
    a percentage of the monthly premium and cover medical services not paid for by Medicare.
    CONGRESSIONAL ACTION
    The House of Representatives and the Senate are expected to consider legislation addressing health
    insurance for early retirees in the 110th Congress.
    8
    KEY POINTS
    HEALTH INSURANCE FOR EARLY RETIREES
    • Retired fire fighters often face significant and unique health care needs as a result of a career
    spent responding to emergencies in hazardous and stressful environments. These health
    conditions often result in increased premiums, placing an even greater financial burden on
    retired fire fighters and their dependents.
    • Fire fighters retire earlier than most professions. Because of the physical demands of their
    jobs, fire departments use mandatory retirement ages or structure their pension systems to
    encourage early retirement.
    • Even in jurisdictions that offer retirees the option to remain in the employer-provided health
    plan, retirees are often required to pay all or most of the premiums. Whether the retirees
    retain their employer-provided insurance or seek another insurance carrier, it is not uncommon
    for retired fire fighters to spend 80 percent of their modest pension benefit on health insurance.
    • Allowing early retirees to buy into Medicare would make health care more affordable for fire
    fighters and other Americans who lose access to employer-provided insurance when they
    need it most - during retirement.
    • Proposals that expand access to health insurance save federal dollars in the long run by
    reducing costs associated with providing health care for the uninsured. Reducing the number
    of uninsured also alleviates strain on the nation’s over-burdened emergency response and
    care systems.
    • The Medicare Early Access Act would not affect the Medicare Trust Fund because it would
    require those who buy into Medicare to pay the full cost of the premiums, without the federal
    government subsidy provided to those over 65.
    • The legislation allows early retirees who already have employer-provided retiree health coverage
    to enroll in Medicare whereby their employer coverage would pay for a percentage of the
    monthly premium and cover medical services not paid for by Medicare.
    • The Medicare Early Access Act also creates a refundable tax credit for a portion of the Medicare
    premiums to make Medicare more affordable for early retirees, many of whom live on fixed
    incomes and cannot afford the full cost of the premiums.
    9
    IAFF LEGISLATIVE FACT SHEET
    FUNDING FOR SAFER
    The IAFF supports increased funding for the SAFER grant program and urges members of
    Congress to contact the Appropriations Committee in support of a significant increase over the
    $115 million appropriated in Fiscal Year 2007.
    BACKGROUND
    Recognizing that the foremost need of the fire service is adequate staffing, Congress enacted the
    Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Fire Fighters Act in 2003. This law
    authorizes funds to hire up to 75,000 new fire fighters over a seven-year period. Under SAFER, fire
    departments can apply for federal grants to help pay the costs associated with hiring new staff over a
    four-year period, with the local community contributing a gradually increasing match. In its second
    year of implementation, the law provided staffing grants in 86 percent of the states to help address
    fire fighter shortages in local departments across the country. The critical importance of adequate fire
    department staffing has been well documented by independent studies. Both the National Fire
    Protection Association (NFPA), the consensus standards making body of the fire service, and the
    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgated standards for the minimum
    number of fire fighters needed to respond safely and effectively to emergencies. An estimated twothirds
    of all jurisdictions do not currently meet these safe staffing levels.
    A study conducted by the U.S. Fire Administration found most fire departments unable to respond to
    many common emergencies with existing staff. A study by the Boston Globe found that fire departments
    are no longer meeting national standards for response times, and the National Institute for Occupational
    Safety and Health has identified lack of staffing as a key cause of fire fighter fatalities on the fireground.
    In Fiscal Year 2007, Congress provided $115 million for SAFER, only a fraction of the more than $1
    billion authorized for the program each year.
    CURRENT LEGISLATION
    Funding for SAFER will be addressed as part of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations
    Act for Fiscal Year 2008.
    CONGRESSIONAL ACTION
    On February 5, 2007, the President released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2008. The proposal
    eliminates all funding for the SAFER grant program.
    The House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Homeland Security will begin drafting
    the Fiscal Year 2008 appropriations bills in early 2007.
    10
    KEY POINTS
    FUNDING FOR SAFER
    • Two-thirds of U.S. fire departments do not meet national standards for safe staffing levels,
    impairing fire fighters’ ability to adequately protect the public.
    • Last year, Congress appropriated $115 million for SAFER to help communities hire additional
    fire fighters, only 11% of the authorized level. While this is a step in the right direction, it is a
    far cry from the funds actually needed to address staffing shortages nationwide.
    • The federal government has provided billions of dollars for emergency responder equipment
    and training, but without enough fire fighters to make use of this equipment and training, the
    funding will do little to enhance public safety.
    • According to multiple studies by the U.S. Fire Administration, fire departments throughout the
    nation lack sufficient personnel to respond to many emergency situations. For example, only
    11% of fire departments can handle a rescue with EMS at a structural collapse of a building
    with 50 occupants with their current number of fire fighters.
    • Adequate staffing is essential to fire fighter safety. Federal government studies have shown
    that operating with below minimum staffing is a leading cause of fire fighter fatalities.
    • An independent analysis of fire department operations conducted by the Boston Globe found
    that response time to emergencies in fire departments throughout the nation rose significantly
    over the past two decades due to lack of personnel.
    • SAFER aids volunteer, as well as career, fire departments. 10% of the funding is dedicated
    for recruitment and retention of volunteer fire fighters and an additional 10% is earmarked for
    all volunteer or mostly volunteer departments that wish to hire full-time fire fighters.
    • Many local governments are currently facing budget shortfalls, which preclude them from
    hiring needed additional fire fighters. SAFER allows the federal government to provide
    temporary help to such communities, while requiring them to match federal funds. The program
    is structured to require communities to make plans to permanently fund the position with local
    dollars.
    • The role of the fire service has transformed from providing local response to an integrated
    national system that responds to a wide range of local emergencies and national disasters.
    When the country is under attack or when there is a natural disaster, local fire fighters respond.
    The federal government has a responsibility to help local fire departments protect public safety.
    • The federal government currently provides funding to local communities to hire teachers and
    other local government workers. It should also assist in hiring desperately needed fire fighters.
    11
    IAFF LEGISLATIVE FACT SHEET
    ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX
    The IAFF supports legislation to reform the Alternative Minimum Tax to prevent middle income
    taxpayers from paying more than their fair share of taxes.
    BACKGROUND
    Since its creation, tax breaks and other incentives have been added to the tax code to make it more
    equitable and to encourage economic activity that benefits society. As the number of incentives
    increased, Congress grew concerned that Americans, particularly wealthy Americans, could avoid
    paying taxes altogether. Therefore, in 1969, Congress created a minimum tax, now known as the
    Alternative Minimum Tax or AMT, a tax calculation outside the regular income tax to ensure that
    taxpayers pay a minimum amount in taxes.
    Unlike the regular income tax, the AMT was not indexed for inflation. As incomes rise with inflation
    and, as in recent years, taxes are cut, more and more Americans are caught by the AMT, from 3.5
    million in 2006 to an anticipated 23 million in 2007. Since 2001, Congress has passed temporary
    fixes each year to increase the AMT exemption to shield most Americans. Initially created to ensure
    a minimum amount in taxes was paid, many middle-class Americans are now forced to pay more than
    their fair share of taxes under the AMT.
    Fire fighters in particular have the potential to be disproportionately affected by the AMT because it
    targets their demographic: married, middle-class taxpayers with children in high-tax states. Fire
    fighter salary ranges also make them increasingly likely to be affected by the AMT. With increasing
    health insurance expenses as a result of hazardous and strenuous work conditions and increasing
    homeland security demands placed on them, fire fighters don’t have room in their monthly budgets
    for a tax increase.
    CURRENT LEGISLATION
    In recent years, various legislative proposals have been introduced to permanently repeal the AMT,
    temporarily fix the AMT on a yearly basis, and permanently reform the AMT.
    CONGRESSIONAL ACTION
    The House of Representatives and the Senate are expected to consider legislation to reform the AMT
    in the 110th Congress.
    12
    KEY POINTS
    ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX
    • Congress created the AMT to prevent Americans from avoiding their tax liability, not to raise
    taxes on the middle class. If left unchanged, by 2010, two in three taxpayers with incomes
    between $50,000 and $500,000 will pay higher taxes as a result of the AMT, a contradiction of
    congressional intent.
    • Fire fighters in particular have the potential to be disproportionately affected by the AMT because
    it targets their demographic: married, middle-class taxpayers with children in high-tax states.
    • With increasing health insurance expenses as a result of hazardous and strenuous work
    conditions and increasing homeland security demands placed on them, fire fighters don’t
    have room in their monthly budgets for a tax increase.
    • According to National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, head of the independent Taxpayer
    Advocate Service within the IRS which helps taxpayers comply with the federal tax code, the
    AMT is “the most serious problem facing taxpayers today.”
    • The AMT should not be the crutch of the federal budget. Although the cost of repealing the
    AMT is high (the fix for 2007 would cost $48 billion), it pales in comparison to the $300 billion
    a year in taxes the federal government fails to collect each year. Honest middle-class taxpayers
    who pay their fair share in taxes should not have to pay higher taxes under the AMT to
    compensate for those who commit tax evasion.
    • The AMT harms the economy and the taxpayer. It increases taxes on the middle-class and
    increases compliance costs for taxpayers. Taxpayers with incomes between $50,000 and
    $75,000 already spend between $780 and $1,170 to comply with complex federal tax laws.
    The AMT is a double-edged sword: it increases already substantial compliance costs and
    simultaneously imposes higher taxes.
    • Some taxpayers are subject to the AMT one year but not the following year. Therefore,
    some taxpayers are subject to ever-changing rules and rates, further increasing compliance
    costs and slowing economic growth.
    13
    IAFF LEGISLATIVE FACT SHEET
    FEDERAL FIRE FIGHTER PRESUMPTIVE
    DISABILITY
    The IAFF supports the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act and encourages members of Congress to
    cosponsor the legislation.
    BACKGROUND
    Fire fighters are exposed on a daily basis to stress, smoke, heat and various toxic substances. As a
    result, fire fighters are far more likely to contract heart disease, lung disease and cancer than other
    workers. And as fire fighters increasingly assume the role of the nation’s leading providers of emergency
    medical services, they are also exposed to infectious diseases. Heart disease, lung disease, cancer
    and infectious disease are now among the leading causes of death and disability for fire fighters, and
    numerous studies have found that these illnesses are occupational hazards of fire fighting.
    In recognition of this link, more than 40 states have enacted “presumptive disability” laws, which
    presume that cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and certain infectious diseases contracted by
    fire fighters are job-related for purposes of worker’s compensation and disability retirement unless
    proven otherwise. No such law covers fire fighters employed by the federal government.
    Under the Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA), federal fire fighters must be able to pinpoint
    the precise incident or exposure that caused a disease in order for it to be considered job-related.
    This burden of proof is extraordinarily difficult for fire fighters to meet because they respond to a wide
    variety of emergency calls, constantly working in different environments under different conditions.
    As a result, very few cases of occupational disease contracted by fire fighters have been deemed to
    be service-connected.
    CURRENT LEGISLATION
    U.S. House: H.R. 1142, the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act
    Sponsors: Representative Lois Capps (D-CA)
    Representative Jo Ann Davis (R-VA)
    Summary: H.R. 1142 would create a rebuttable presumption that cardiovascular disease, certain
    cancers and certain infectious diseases contracted by federal fire fighters are jobrelated
    for purposes of workers’ compensation and disability retirement.
    CONGRESSIONAL ACTION
    On February 16, 2007, H.R. 1142 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and referred
    to the Committee on Education and Labor.
    The Senate version of the legislation will be introduced in the near future.
    14
    KEY POINTS
    FEDERAL FIRE FIGHTER PRESUMPTIVE
    DISABILITY
    • Our nation’s federal fire fighters have some of the most hazardous and sensitive jobs in the
    country. While protecting our national interests on military installations, nuclear facilities, VA
    hospitals and other federal facilities, they are routinely exposed to toxic substances, biohazards,
    temperature extremes and stress.
    • Fire fighters who are forced to separate from service due to a disability sustained in the line of
    duty receive enhanced retirement benefits over those who are injured off the job.
    • Occupational illnesses are supposed to be considered job-related disabilities, but unlike most
    states, the federal government does not presume that illnesses associated with firefighting are
    job-related.
    • To qualify for disability retirement, a federal fire fighter who suffers from an occupational illness
    must specify the precise exposure that caused his or her illness - an almost insurmountable
    burden.
    • The Federal Firefighters Fairness Act creates a rebuttable presumption that federal fire fighters
    who become disabled by heart and lung disease, certain cancers and certain infectious diseases
    contracted the illness on the job.
    • Because the presumption is rebuttable, illnesses would not be considered job-related if the
    employing agency can demonstrate that the illness likely has another cause. For example, a fire
    fighter who smokes would not be able to receive line-of-duty disability for lung cancer. But the
    burden of proof would be on the employer, rather than the injured employee or his or her family.
    • It is fundamentally unfair that fire fighters employed by the federal government are not eligible for
    disability retirement for the same occupational diseases as their municipal counterparts. This
    disparity is especially glaring in instances where federal fire fighters work alongside municipal fire
    fighters during mutual aid responses and are exposed to the same hazardous conditions, such as
    was the case in the response to Hurricane Katrina.
    • If the federal government wants to recruit and retain qualified fire fighters, it must be able to offer
    a benefits package that is competitive with the municipal sector, including having occupational
    illness covered by workers’ compensation.
    • Congress has extended presumptive benefits to various groups of individuals, such as Peace
    Corps volunteers, military veterans and public safety officers who die in the line of duty.
    15
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    Notes
    16

    INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE FIGHTERS, AFL-CIO, CLC
    1750 New York Avenue, N.W. Washington D.C. 20006
    Phone 202-737-8484 Fax 202-783-4570
    www.iaff.org
    Harold A. Schaitberger
    General President
    Vincent J. Bollon
    General Secretary-Treasurer
    Michael J. Crouse
    Chief of Staff
    Barry Kasinitz
    Governmental Affairs Director
    Shannon A. Meissner
    Governmental Affairs Representative
    Nathaniel M. Sloan
    Governmental Affairs Representative
    Kevin B. O’Connor
    Assistant to the General President
    David B. Billy
    Political Director
    Kimberly B. Benenson
    Political Representative
    Nikki Budzinski
    Political Representative
    Last edited by ehs7554; 03-02-2007 at 11:40 PM.

  2. #2
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    Is anyone else unhappy with some of the issues being pushed by the IAFF? I'm not sure how the AMT issue is firefighter related. I've expressed my concerns to a couple of our union leadership who will be attending next week.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86 View Post
    I'm not sure how the AMT issue is firefighter related.
    On the off chance that you didn't see this at:
    http://www.iaff.org/politics/us/content/AMT.htm
    http://www.iaff.org/politics/us/cont...Tkeypoints.htm

    KEY POINTS

    ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX

    • Congress created the AMT to prevent Americans from avoiding their tax liability, not to raise taxes on the middle class. If left unchanged, by 2010, two in three taxpayers with incomes between $50,000 and $500,000 will pay higher taxes as a result of the AMT, a contradiction of congressional intent.

    • Fire fighters in particular have the potential to be disproportionately affected by the AMT because it targets their demographic: married, middle-class taxpayers with children in high-tax states.

    • With increasing health insurance expenses as a result of hazardous and strenuous work conditions and increasing homeland security demands placed on them, fire fighters don’t have room in their monthly budgets for a tax increase.

    • According to National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, head of the independent Taxpayer Advocate Service within the IRS (which helps taxpayers comply with the federal tax code), the AMT is “the most serious problem facing taxpayers today.”

    • The AMT should not be the crutch of the federal budget. Although the cost of repealing the AMT is high (the fix for 2007 would cost $48 billion), it pales in comparison to the $300 billion a year in taxes the federal government fails to collect each year. Honest middle-class taxpayers who pay their fair share in taxes should not have to pay higher taxes under the AMT to compensate for those who commit tax evasion.

    • The AMT harms the economy and the taxpayer. It increases taxes on the middle-class and increases compliance costs for taxpayers. Taxpayers with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 already spend between $780 and $1,170 to comply with complex federal tax laws. The AMT is a double-edged sword: it increases already substantial compliance costs and simultaneously imposes higher taxes.

    • Some taxpayers are subject to the AMT one year, but not the following year. Therefore, some taxpayers are subject to ever-changing rules and rates, further increasing compliance costs and slowing economic growth.
    Not saying it is right or wrong, just giving you the IAFFs logic behind their position.
    Member IACOJ - Building crust and full of lust...

    "It's okay to to scared, just don't be chicken." - Clark

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehs7554 View Post
    Maybe the IAFF isn't totally against volunteering, unless I am reading this wrong. The following is the "Firefighters Issues Book" for the 110th congress first session. In one of the sections, it seems to say that the proposed bill would not restrict someone from volunteering.
    In section 5 it gives yes no answers to which the last item is checked NO. This means that the PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE COOPERATION ACT would not restrict volunteering. Maybe I have read this wrong.

    You read it correctly it does not restrict volunteering at all. This act would be good for firefighters nationwide. One it does not restrict volunteering. And it also ensures that career firefighters get their chance to have their voice heard by the City leaders that they work for concerning working conditions, hours, ETC. It is a good bill and anyone that is a firefighter reguardless if your in the IAFF, volunteer, paid or not you should contact your United States Congressman and Senators and ask them to sponsor this bill as this will help your brothers and sisters out. And beleive me the municipalites and the counties are coming out against this bill because they do not care what we as firefighters think or about any of our concerns pertaining to our safety or anything else and they do not want to have to listen to us talk about it and that is exactly what this bill would do. it would require the different cities and municipalities to sit down and let us voice our concerns. So I am asking anyone that is a firefighter please contact your United States Congressman and Senators in person or by phone, or email and ask them to sponsor this bill. This will help your brothers and sisters out more that you will ever know.

    This also brought up a good point I will start a thread,

    Sincerely
    Tann
    Last edited by Tann3100; 03-03-2007 at 07:23 PM.
    IACOJ
    FTM-PTB

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