TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner and Senator Jeff Van Drew that would exclude armed services combat zone pay from gross income taxation cleared the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee yesterday.
The bill, a Senate Committee Substitute for S-799/S-1838, would specifically exclude military pay for service in a combat zone or for hospitalization as the result of injury while serving in a combat zone from taxable gross income under the New Jersey gross income tax. The bill uses federal definitions of combat zone pay to exclude from New Jersey taxation the same pay that is excluded from federal income taxation.
“Our service men and women give up so much of their lives to ensure the safety and security of the American people. It is only fitting that we apply in New Jersey what’s already done at the federal level for our armed forces who have served or were injured in combat zones,” said Senator Turner (D-Mercer, Hunterdon). “By excluding their combat zone pay from taxation, we are recognizing their enormous contribution to our country and acknowledging that the scars and wounds they carry from combat are enough of a tax.”
“This legislation extends the same level of gross income tax benefits that service members already receive at the federal level to the state level,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland). “It is the least we can do for those who fight for our American rights and freedoms. Our military men and women who have served in a combat zone or have been injured in one have already paid their dues and deserve our gratitude and respect.”
A combat zone is defined as any area the President of the United States designates by Executive Order as an area in which the U.S. Armed Forces are engaging or have engaged in combat.
The bill cleared the committee with a vote of 5-0. It now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.