As we approach the 90th Veterans Day observance this month, I would like to highlight how New York State has worked to make the lives of New York’s one million veterans better during this challenging year. All the men and women who have served in uniform deserve our thanks, not only on Veterans Day, but on every day. They put protecting our country ahead of their personal safety.

New York vets are eligible for a number of benefits and programs, including property tax exemptions, tuition education assistance, job training, employment placement assistance and counseling. The state Senate, working with the governor, increased funding for veterans’ service agencies, passed “lifeline” legislation that helps returning citizen-soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars to reclaim homes lost to foreclosures while they were deployed, and enacted additional property tax exemptions for veterans.

At a difficult time of high unemployment, the senate’s Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee will be bringing together returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars with representatives of the Building Congress, the Building and Construction Trades Council and other potential employers of veterans, in an effort to assist these veterans in returning to our workforce. I am a proud member of this Senate committee.

Governor David A. Paterson recently signed into law the “Cold War Veterans Exemption,” which increases the real property tax exemption for approximately 882,700 Cold War vets who served on active duty in the United States armed force between September 2, 1945 and December 26, 1991 (covering World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf Conflict).

Under the bill, which I sponsored, each municipality may adapt local laws to provide such exemptions and the exemption may include cooperative apartments and property held in trust for the benefit of a veteran.

Your Albany representatives continue their commitment to veterans with:

? Veterans Speaker Education Program: Requires the Division of Veterans Affairs, working with the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Resource Center, to compile a pamphlet, for distribution to school districts, of veterans willing to discuss their military experience. The brochure would be available to schools statewide.

? Veterans Real Property Tax Break: Provides a real property tax exemption to individuals certified to receive a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs disability pension.

? Veterans School Tax Exemption: Expands the veterans’ alternative real property tax exemption so that it can also apply to taxes levied by school districts.

? Cold War Commendation: Authorizes a state Cold War Certificate to the men and women who served honorably during the Cold War from September 2, 1945 to December 26, 1991.

? Veterans Businesses: Requires the Division of Veterans Affairs, in consultation with the New York State Small Business Development Center and the Office of Entrepreneurial Education, to prepare a pamphlet explaining how to start a veteran-owned small business and describe procurement opportunities within the state.

? Disabled Veterans: Establishes an Interagency Coordinating Council for service-disabled veterans. The measure would ensure that veterans with disabilities related to the injuries they suffered while serving in the armed forces have access to coordinated and specialized services from multiple state and local agencies.

Visit the State Department of Veterans Affairs Web site at https://veterans.ny.gov/, or call 518-474-7606 or 212-564-8414 for more information.

It is my honor to demonstrate and recognize the respect that is owed to our veterans, while acknowledging their courageous acts, accomplishments and financial plight during this difficult time.

FREE FLAGS: Another form of recognition to the service of our armed forces comes from the heart of my district in Glendale.

Online flag dealer FlagsExpo.com and its flag store will again give away free American flags – one to a customer, walk-ins only – continuing their 30-year tradition. Flags can be claimed on November 11, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by visiting the Delta Signs & Flags Co., 65-24 Myrtle Avenue, while supplies last. The free flags are 12” x 18’’ on the staff and are made in the USA. Contact them at 718-418-3705.


Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) is the District 15 New York Senate member.

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