Burlington County freeholders thank voters for approving ‘Vet is a Vet’ amendment

Angelo Marti, left, and Alan Skolkin, right, participated in a holiday food giveaway for local veterans on Dec. 18 at the National Guard Family Programs Joint Military & Family Assistance Center on Route 206 in Bordentown Township. Photo by Thomas Wiedmann

The Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders applauded voters approval of a Constitutional amendment expanding eligibility for New Jersey’s $250 property tax deduction to all honorably discharged veterans rather than just those who served during wartimes.

The amendment was seemingly approved by New Jersey voters by an overwhelming margin. As of Nov. 4, the unofficial tally in Burlington County was 136,819 “yes” votes in favor and 40,558 “no” votes. Results are not valid until certified, and votes will not be officially certified until later this month.

“A vet is a vet regardless of where or when they completed their service. They should not be treated differently or receive different benefits,” Freeholder Director Felicia Hopson, who is the board’s liaison to Veterans Affairs, said in the statement. “I’m proud of our county’s voters and those across the state who agreed to make this change. It’s long overdue and will help continue to make our state and county a welcoming place for veterans to live and retire.”

Before the change, New Jersey would only award veterans the $250 deduction if they served in one of 14 theaters of war or armed conflict, including Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom and the World Trade Center rescue and recovery effort.

The state also provides a total property tax exemption for those veterans who became 100% disabled as a result of a wound or injury during their service. Previously that was also limited to wounds and injuries suffered in war zones.

More than 53,000 peacetime veterans living in New Jersey will become eligible for both forms of tax relief thanks to the removal of the war zone service requirement, according to the statement.

“Burlington County is home to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and over 25,000 veterans, and our board has made ensuring that our veterans receive all the assistance and benefits they are eligible for,” Freeholder Tom Pullion, the board’s liaison for Military Affairs, said in the statement. “This change took decades to finally get approved and will help thousands more of our vets with their property taxes. It may not seem like much, but every dollar counts, and our veterans deserve it regardless of whether they served during times of peace or war.”

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