Bill proposes tax deductions for R.I. National Guard members sent on health-related assignments

A NEW BILL INTRODUCED by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson proposes tax deductions for R.I. National Guard members who serve on health-related assignments. Pictured is the R.I. Statehouse. / PBN FILE PHOTO/CASSIUS SHUMAN

PROVIDENCE – A new measure introduced by a state lawmaker would offer tax deductions for R.I. National Guard members who serve on health-related assignments, such as helping to support health care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill, 2022-H 7382, is proposed by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson, D-Warwick.

It would provide for an income tax deduction of up to 50% of what a National Guard member earned during a medically related assignment during a pandemic.

“The governor has the ability to activate our National Guard as a response to natural disaster or to keep order during civil unrest,” Vella-Wilkinson said. “However, I firmly believe that activating the Guard to bolster the shortage of health care workers during a pandemic is well outside the scope of their mission and puts them and their immediate family at risk to exposure. Approving this tax exemption is tantamount to providing hazard pay.”

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The measure has been referred to the House Finance Committee.

Gov. Daniel J. McKee mobilized about 180 National Guard members to help with COVID-19 testing and vaccination in early January. About a week later, about 60 members were sent to Butler Hospital to help treat psychiatric patients and free up beds for COVID-19 patients, while another 20 members were assigned to help with testing throughout the state.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.

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