NEW JERSEY -- During last week's General Election, New Jersey voters approved the ballot question to extend the existing $250 property tax deduction to be granted to all honorably discharged veterans, rather than just those with active wartime service or involvement in certain peacekeeping operations.

Previously, New Jersey would only veterans who 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 were eligible for the $250 deduction

Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington), who wrote the new law placing the ballot question before voters, said that "with the ballot question approved, we recognize as a state that giving the existing property tax deduction to all honorably discharged veterans throughout New Jersey is the right thing to do.” 

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“Soldiers have little say in when or where they will be deployed. When an individual signs up to serve in the military, they understand and accept that their lives may be placed at risk during their service. The voter’s approval of the ballot question recognizes and respects the bravery in their decision, regardless of whether that recruit went on to fight in a war or if they served during a time of peace," added Conaway, who served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force.

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

“A vet is a vet regardless of where or when they completed their service. They should not be treated differently or receive different benefits,” said Freeholder Director Felicia Hopson, who is the board’s liaison to Veterans Affairs. “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.”

More than 53,000 peacetime veterans living in New Jersey will now become eligible for both forms of tax relief under the "a vet is a vet" change. 

“Each and every person in the United States Armed Forces has an important role to play in the defense of our country. You can ask many current and former military members, and they will say the same thing – that a veteran is a veteran no matter what," Conaway said. 

“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,” said Freeholder Tom Pullion, the board’s liaison for Military Affairs. “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.”