By Bill Parry
Calling it one step closer to a “concrete way to give back to those who have given of themselves in service to our nation,” state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) announced committee approval of his legislation, S.3675, which would enable New Yorkers to check off a box on their personal income tax returns to assist veterans’ service organizations.
Under the bill, the contributions would be held in a fund maintained by the state comptroller and the state Division of Taxation and Finance, and monies would be provided to veterans’ service organizations to enable them to better assist former military members in assessing necessary benefits and programs. The contributions would be gifts and not reduce the amount of tax owed by check-off program participants.
“My proposal would establish a veterans’ service organization fund, which would be supported through the generosity of New York residents who decide that they want to contribute to veterans’ groups when they file their state personal income tax returns,” Addabbo, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, said. “I am grateful my colleagues on the Senate Veterans Committee have joined me in advancing this initiative.”
Other check-off programs in New York state include those that support breast cancer research, prostate cancer research, wildlife and conservation efforts, Alzheimer’s disease services, and state veteran’ cemeteries.
“I think it’s fitting that New York taxpayers be provided with the opportunity to voluntarily support brave and selfless men and women who have put their lives on hold at home and their lives at risk overseas — all in service to our country,” Addabbo said. “By helping veterans’ service organizations expand their programs, we will be thanking our veterans in a truly meaningful manner.”
The bill’s next step towards full Senate passage is consideration by the Senate Finance Committee. In the Assembly, the legislation is under review by the Ways and Means Committee.
“Veterans are often in need of a variety of services when they return home, but do not always know where to turn to find out about an array of programs that exist to help them,” Addabbo said. “Veterans’ service organizations serve as the key liaison between veterans and appropriate government agencies, and their efforts are vital to ensuring that our returning servicemen and women gain access to the health, employment, education and other services available to them.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr