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Fla. lawmakers disqualify many disabled responders from tax break

Legislators added several rules to a newly-approved tax break, including one that says the responder must have been employed in the state at the time of injury

By EMS1 Staff

TAMPA, Fla. — Florida lawmakers added rules to a tax break for disabled first responders that disqualify many from receiving the benefit.

FOX13 reported that Amendment 3 was approved by voters in 2016, and the language on the ballot implies that first responders in Florida who are permanently disabled due to line of duty injuries get a property tax exemption.

However, rules were quietly added by legislators to disqualify some disabled responders from receiving tax breaks at all.

One rule that was added states responders must have been working and living in Florida at the time of their injury, although the original language of Amendment 3 said “first responders living in Florida” would receive the tax break.

State Senator David Simmons recently tried to remove the rules that were sponsored by State Representative Larry Metz and said he did not know the restrictions were included until after they were already passed.

Simmons’ bill did not pass, but he said he will try again next year.

“These are the most wounded of our wounded,” disabled first responder Jim Bomford said. Bomford was denied the tax break because he was injured in New York.

“I don’t understand a system that rushes bills through without giving people time to read them,” Bomford added.