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Beach, Cruz-Perez Bill Expanding Eligibility for Veterans’ Property Tax Break Clears Committee

Senator Jim Beach congratulates Congressman Donald Norcross on his succession to the U.S. House of Representatives.

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Beach and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez that would expand eligibility to receive the veterans’ property tax deduction and tax exemption cleared the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today.

This bill, S-1760, would broaden the eligibility for the veterans’ property tax deduction and exemption by eliminating the requirement that a veteran serve during specific wars or other periods of emergency, and in certain instances, that a veteran serve in a war zone.

“All veterans must be valued for their honorable service to our nation. Our tax laws need to be updated for the purposes of eligibility for property tax benefits so that they are indiscriminate,” said Senator Beach (D-.Burlington, Camden). “This bill provides for a more uniform approach in setting a standard of eligibility for property tax exemptions and deductions for New Jersey veterans who have served honorably.”

“Where or when a veteran served should have no bearing when making a determination on property tax deductions,” said Senator Cruz Perez (D-Camden, Gloucester). “All of our veterans deserve our gratitude. This legislation will amend our outdated laws to capture the spirit of what our constitution intended, and that is to show a deep appreciation for the sacrifices our service members have made for the sake of our nation and our freedoms.”

Under the bill, instead of service during specific dates or in specific locations, a veteran would be required to serve for at least 90 days, exclusive of certain types of initial training, in order to be eligible for any of the primary veterans’ benefits.

Alternatively, the bill would require a veteran of a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard, to serve the entire period to which called to federal active service, exclusive of training, in order to be eligible for the primary veterans’ benefits.

A veteran who is discharged as the result of a service-connected disability would be eligible even if he or she has not completed the 90 days’ service or the period to which called to federal active service.

Under the New Jersey Constitution and tax laws, veterans are eligible for an annual property tax deduction of $250. In order to receive this deduction, veterans are required to be citizens or state residents, serve in active wartime in the U.S. Armed Forces, be honorably discharged, own property, and complete a timely application. Updates to the requirements of eligibility for the property tax deduction and the property tax exemption proposed in this bill are contingent upon voter approval of an authorizing amendment to the State Constitution.

The bill cleared the committee by a vote of 4-0 and now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

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