A bill to double the existing gross income tax deduction for honorably discharged or released veterans from $3,000 to $6,000 is headed to Gov. Phil Murphy after passing the Legislature last week.
Sponsored by Democrat legislators from Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties, it passed unanimously, gaining bipartisan support in both the Assembly and Senate.
An estimated 387,000 veterans in New Jersey would benefit if it becomes law, according to a statement from Assembly Democrats.
“So many veterans face financial hardships after leaving the service,” said primary sponsor Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, D-Atlantic. “It’s my hope that this legislation will help to ease that burden at tax time and serve as a reminder to veterans that their fellow New Jerseyans are grateful for their sacrifices.”
Primary sponsor Assemblyman Matthew Milam, D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland, said A-5609 would allow New Jersey veterans to keep an estimated $23 million more of their earnings each year.
Other sponsors in the Assembly include Bruce Land, D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland; and John Armato, D-Atlantic.
In the state Senate co-sponsors included Bob Andrzejczak, D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland.
State Sen. Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, said he “reached across the aisle to work with Senate Budget Chairman Paul Sarlo to help unanimously pass S-3960,” the Senate version of the bill.
Sens. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, Passaic, and Dawn Marie Addiego, D-Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, were primary sponsors.
Brown, a combat veteran, said he would have sponsored it if there had been time for Republicans to join in.
The majority party takes the lead on budget bills. It moved so quickly there wasn’t time for the process of allowing Republicans to co-sponsor, Brown said.