Opinion 95 - 22


This opinion represents the views of the Office of the State Comptroller at the time it was rendered. The opinion may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinion.

FOREIGN FIRE INSURANCE TAXES -- Exempt Volunteer Firemen's Benevolent Association (use of tax moneys to purchase exercise equipment)

INSURANCE LAW, §§9104, 9105: The Fishkill Exempt Firemen's Benevolent Association may not expend foreign fire insurance tax moneys to purchase exercise equipment for use generally by members of the fire department.

You ask whether the Fishkill Exempt Firemen's Benevolent Association may expend foreign fire insurance tax moneys to purchase certain exercise equipment to be used to implement a fitness program at the fire station.

Insurance Law, §§9104 and 9105 govern the distribution and use of foreign fire insurance tax moneys, except as otherwise provided in any special law. Therefore, when an exempt firemen's benevolent association has been created by special act of the State Legislature and is authorized to receive direct payment of foreign fire insurance tax moneys, the moneys may be expended only in the manner prescribed by the special act (see 1992 Opns St Comp No. 92-7, p 15; 1991 Opns St Comp No. 91-29, p 84; 1989 Opns St Comp No. 89-11, p 23; 1983 Opns St Comp No. 83-120, p 151; 1981 Opns St Comp No. 81-328, p 357).

The Fishkill Exempt Firemen's Benevolent Association was incorporated by chapter 640 of the Laws of 1965. Section 7 of that law authorizes the Association to receive foreign fire insurance tax moneys and to use such moneys as follows:

Such taxes shall only be used for the care and relief of disabled or indigent volunteer and exempt firemen and their families.

It is evident that the purchase of exercise equipment for use generally by members of the fire department does not relate to the care and relief of disabled or indigent volunteer and exempt firefighters and their families. Consequently, the Association may not expend foreign fire insurance tax for that purpose.

July 27, 1995
Peter D. Phillips, Treasurer
Fishkill Exempt Firemen's Benevolent Association