TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Jim Beach and Jeff Van Drew to allow taxpayers to make voluntary contributions on their income tax returns to provide support to our state’s National Guard members and their families today cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
“Members of our National Guard are often deployed for extended periods of time, and while these brave men and women are serving our country, their spouses in many cases take on the sole responsibility of running a household and caring for their families. This can take a toll on everyone involved,” said Senator Beach (D-Camden), chair of the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. “Providing our residents, through this donation process, with a means to lend support to our troops and their families as they cope with the demands of military life is just a small contribution we can make in return for their sacrifice.”
The bill (S-2307/A-2286) would establish and permit taxpayers to donate to a special fund called the “NJ National Guard State Family Readiness Council Fund.” The fund would provide support to members of the New Jersey National Guard and their families to help them cope when a wage-earner has temporarily left civilian employment to be placed on active military duty. The council provides education, counseling and financial planning to members and to the spouses of deployed Guard members.
“Our National Guard members make tremendous sacrifices to keep us safe, defending our country at home and abroad,” said Senator Van Drew. “Establishing a program that allows residents to show their support to our men and women in uniform by allowing them to make donations through their tax returns, as so many people do for other worthy causes, is the least we can do to honor our members’ service.”
Currently, 16 designations are included on the State income tax return permitting taxpayers to support a variety of causes, including breast cancer research, organ donation awareness, Children’s Trust, Battleship New Jersey and Literacy Volunteers. The bill would allow taxpayers to donate a portion of their tax refund or an enclosed contribution to a new fund for National Guard members and their families. The fund would be established in the Department of Treasury, and any costs incurred by the department for administration of the fund would be deducted from revenue collected. Under the bill, the Legislature would annually appropriate all funds deposited in the “NJ National Guard State Family Readiness Council Fund” to the National Guard State Family Readiness Council.
The measure was approved by the Assembly in March by a vote of 77-0-1. The Senate cleared the bill by a vote of 10-0. It now heads to the full Senate for consideration. The bill would take effect immediately and apply to taxable years beginning after enactment.