Increase to first responder loan program passes House

The bill is on its way to the Senate for consideration

Rep. Tina Davis recently applauded her House colleagues for unanimously passing H.B. 1816, her plan to increase the amount of money that emergency response units can borrow for critical equipment through the Volunteer Loan Assistance program.

The VLAP provides low-interest loans to volunteer fire companies and emergency medical services so that they may purchase up-to-date equipment and vehicles and maintain and upgrade their facilities. The 10 percent increase in loan limits set forth by the bill addresses the rate of inflation. The maximum limit on loans was last raised in 2013.

“Current loan limits have restrained vital fire companies and emergency medical services,” said Davis, D-Bucks. “As a result, these organizations are spending too much time fundraising because VLAP’s loan rates haven’t increased with the rate of inflation. This bill would provide these vital organizations with the ability to buy or upgrade essential equipment and maintain facilities across the state.”

In addition, the bill would annually increase all loan limits by the inflation rate from the previous year to ensure that fire companies and emergency medical services have lasting access to financial assistance.

“Having to go to the legislature every couple of years to raise loan rates is inefficient, as we know the rate of inflation is going to increase,” Davis said. “This bill also will make it easier for organizations to plan their upgrades.”

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.