New Laws Would Improve Veteran Benefits

As we pause on Memorial Day to honor those who gave their lives to their country, we are mindful of the many sacrifices they made for us and our country. In this time of honoring, we also remember those who are still fighting to protect our great country and think of ways we can give back. On a state level, there are many laws that have been proposed that would improve benefits for veterans who return to New York after they have served. Below are some proposed laws in the State Assembly that I sponsor. These laws, if passed, would provide some incentive for our veterans to come back home.

Provide Child Care Cost Relief for New York State National Guard Families. A.4717 would provide financial relief for the families of NYS National Guard members when one or both parents have been called to federal active duty. This would ease the financial burden of day care for members of the organized militia of the State of New York who have been deployed by the federal government to participate in contingency operations outside of the continental United States or in operations within the United States that extend for a year or longer.

Provide Wage Tax Credits for Businesses. A.4010 establishes a wage tax credit for businesses that employ members of the National Guard and Reserves and for businesses that fully comply with USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act) requirements. This law would encourage employment of volunteer first responders by giving the employer a wage tax credit for hiring and retaining first responders. First responders get called away from their job for various reasons, so this legislation would provide an incentive for employers to retain these dedicated individuals.

Extend Military Pay Income Tax Exemption. A.4006 would extend the state income tax exemption to active duty troops stationed anywhere in the world. This legislation will exempt New York State income taxes for military personnel. This is necessary because they protect our freedoms both home and abroad while being taxed as a permanent resident. This legislation would change this inequity in the tax law.

Reserve Education Benefits for Surviving Family Members. A.4005 would allow surviving dependent family members of New York State military personnel who die while on active duty to receive free tuition, room and board at SUNY or CUNY institutions.

There are several laws under a proposal known as “New York Homes for Heroes” that if passed would make buying and owning a home for veterans more affordable. Some of those laws include Making the Affordable Home Ownership Development Program available to service-related disabled veterans (A.4080); Authorize the State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) to provide home purchase and rehabilitation assistance loans to honorably discharged New York State veterans for up to 20 percent of the value of the home (A.4081); Authorize SONYMA to purchase veterans-assisted Forward Commitment Loans from banks with low down payments and at favorable interest rates (A.4083).

If you would like to learn more about any of these proposed laws, or if you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at or by calling (315) 598-5185.