TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly Military & Veterans Committee held a public hearing on a constitutional amendment to extend a veterans’ property tax deduction and a disabled veterans property tax exemption to all veterans and disabled veterans regardless of war time service this week. Assemblyman Ron Dancer, a veteran who sits on the committee and co-sponsors the resolution to amend the constitution, said it’s time all New Jersey’s veterans have access to uniform and consistent benefits.
“The property tax deduction is a good step forward, but it seems like we do it piecemeal in New Jersey rather than providing what other states in the nation provide,” said Dancer (R-Ocean).
Just this past November, voters overwhelmingly approved a statewide ballot question to give veterans living in retirement communities a $250 property tax deduction.
“We are tackling this issue little by little instead of addressing the real problem of how we define veterans in this state,” continued Dancer. “It is time we start treating all veterans equally.”
Dancer said he is a strong supporter of a “Vet is a Vet” bill that has been introduced in the Legislature in previous sessions. The bill would broaden the eligibility for various veterans’ benefits by eliminating the requirement that, to be considered a veteran, a person must have served during periods of war, in specific war zones or during periods of emergency.
“Veterans are confused as to what benefits they actually qualify for because New Jersey politicians decided to define veterans by dates of service rather than just their service. Veterans are trained and ready to serve whenever and wherever they are needed and sent,” said Dancer. “Veterans who have sacrificed and served this country with honor, received campaign badges and protected our freedoms have been shocked to come home and discover that the state doesn’t consider them a veteran. This discrimination has to stop.”
According to advocates, New Jersey is the only state in the nation that doesn’t offer the same benefits and opportunities to all veterans. New Jersey defines a veteran differently for different benefits in the state, including income tax exemptions and civil service preference.