In a state with more than 380,000 veterans, New Jersey lawmakers continue to seek ways to address the issues affecting both former and current military members.
The 1st Legislative District lawmakers Senator Bob Andrzejczak and Assemblymen Bruce Land and Matthew Milam joined Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin for a press conference at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Wildwood on Monday, Oct. 28 to discuss legislation that would benefit the state’s many veterans.
“It was thanks to the help of others that I was able to receive the resources I needed when I returned stateside after being injured in the line of duty,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland). “So I understand the kind of difference the right support makes in a veteran’s life and have made it my objective to ensure other vets throughout New Jersey receive the same assistance I did.”
The legislators highlighted a number of bills and resolutions introduced in either the Senate or General Assembly that they want to work on, including:
- A resolution proposing the expansion of the $250 veterans’ property tax deduction to all NJ veterans, regardless of war-time service (ACR-57)
- Legislation allowing veterans to obtain special identification license plates (A-111 and A-828)
- Legislation to be introduced that would allow student loans forgiven via a federal program to not be counted as income for veterans, when it comes to state tax income purposes.
- Legislation to help families of deceased military members obtain helpful identification cards (A-4833) and claim their loved one’s remains (A-3883)
- A resolution supporting F-35 fighter jets being based at 177th Fighter Wing in Atlantic City (SJR-83)
- A measure to help homeless veterans obtain housing (A-4089); and
- A measure providing certain employment protections for New Jersey National Guard members (S-3594)
“The Assembly has and will continue to prioritize the well-being of our state’s veterans,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “We designated a Women Veterans Appreciation Day to highlight the service of women in the military. These past two years alone, we doubled the veteran’s income tax deduction to $6,000 and made it possible for municipalities to offer disabled veterans complete property tax exemption.”
Additional legislation in the works include resolutions urging Congress to enact reforms to address sexual harassment in the armed forces (ACR-55) and designating a “Civil War Veterans Recognition Month” in New Jersey (SJR-59).
“As a Vietnam veteran, I have first-hand experience with the sacrifices soldiers make and the challenges they and their families face,” said Land (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland). “That’s why I support legislation such as this that makes life easier for them while showing our appreciation for their service to this country.”
“Making sure the legislation in this bill package moves forward in the Assembly is one way we can continue to take care of the veterans in our state,” said Milam (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland). “It is our duty to make sure we connect them with the resources and support they deserve. While we may never be able to fully give back to them what they have given to all of us, we will never stop working hard for them in Trenton.”