'Stop The Alarm Tax'

Saturday, August 1, 2009

BALTIMORE--Blue buttons emblazoned with STAT, an acronym for “Stop the Alarm Tax,” were on lapels all over the ESX show floor on June 24.

STAT is a new organization launched at the show by the Virginia Burglar & Fire Alarm Association and the NBFAA. The purpose of STAT is to fight a legislative proposal that has surfaced in Virginia in the past three legislative sessions, and according to John Kochensparger, president of the VBFAA, will surface again.

The idea is to raise $100,000 to “stop the bill before it even gets introduced,” said Kochensparger.

In 2009, the bill proposed taxing every alarm account $2, every month. The professional fire fighters union was behind the proposal, and sees it as a way to fund a fire fighters disability trust fund. The union believes it could raise $24 million annually by taxing Virginia alarm accounts.

“The alarm industry is not the first industry the fire fighters union has tried to hit up,” said Kochensparger.

The bill died in the Virginia House this year, thanks in large part to efforts by the Virginia Burglar & Fire Alarm Association and the NBFAA. Proponents of the bill are ramping up to introduce it again.

If the law is successfully passed in Virginia, Kochensparger warned, fire fighters unions in other states “will be eager to embrace this new untapped source of revenue - the alarm industry.”