Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Bruce Land and Bob Andrzejczak that would authorize a property tax exemption for totally disabled veterans, regardless of whether they served in a theater of war, continued advancing this week, gaining approval from the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
“A veteran who becomes completely disabled in the line of service has given up their freedom to protect the freedom of others,” said Land (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland), a former U.S. Army Sergeant who received two Bronze Stars and the Soldier’s Medal for his bravery in Vietnam. “Given the enormity of their sacrifices, it should not matter if their injuries were sustained in a theater of war. They deserve every assistance we can offer them.”
“Service in the name of one’s country, regardless of whether it’s technically in a theater of war, still presents inherent dangers,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland), a former U.S. Army Sergeant who was wounded during a 2008 deployment in Iraq, resulting in the loss of his left leg. “Given the many conflicts our service members are engaged in overseas, putting their life on the line daily, this technicality should be irrelevant.”
Under current law, to be eligible for a 100 percent property tax exemption, a veteran must be 100 percent disabled as the result of their service in a theater of war or in a foreign country, on board a ship or naval vessel, or in foreign airspace.
This bill (A-3150) would authorize any veteran of military service in any branch of the armed forces of the United States who became 100 percent disabled as the result of that military service to receive a 100 percent property tax exemption, without a requirement that the disability be connected to service in a theater of war or in a foreign country, on board any ship or naval vessel, or in any foreign airspace.
The bill also stipulates that for the purpose of eligibility for the property tax exemption, there shall be no minimum length of continuous or aggregate service required in any foreign country, on board any ship or naval vessel, or in any foreign airspace; and there shall be no requirement that the service-connected disability suffered by a veteran shall have occurred during any service in any foreign country, on board any ship or naval vessel, or in any foreign airspace.
The measure now awaits consideration by the full Assembly.