Above: Assemblyman Steve Hawley talks with Chris Paiser, a Sergeant in the New York State National Guard and former correction officer who lost his vision while serving in Iraq.
Many New Yorkers have family members or know people who are serving in the armed forces. Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) understands the sacrifices made by these brave men and women, which is why today he joined his Assembly minority colleagues to unveil the latest installment of the Patriot Plan - a legislative package that provides tax relief and other benefits to military personnel serving our state and nation.
I can only imagine leaving my family, my home and life as I know it to go into a war zone, said Hawley. I have nothing but the utmost respect for our military men and women and want to do more to honor them and help them when they return home. Thats where the Patriot Plan comes in.
According to Hawley, the legislature passed and Governor Pataki signed into law Patriot Plans I, II and III, which offered a sweeping array of protections and financial assistance to New Yorks troops. Patriot Plan IV supplements those measures by adding more programs to help ease the burden placed on New Yorks Armed Forces.
Hawleys legislative package would provide New Yorks soldiers with several retirement benefits and tax credits, and make their dreams of home ownership easier and more affordable. The plan also contains provisions for child custody and benefits for surviving family members.
Having served as a member of the U.S. Army Reserves and the National Guard, I can identify with being called up to active duty. While Patriot Plan cannot bring soldiers home unharmed and cannot give back the time they spent away from their loved ones, it certainly can provide them with a little assistance when they come back to the states to resume their lives. Im hopeful this plan passes with flying colors so New York military personnel can enjoy some additional benefits as a thank you for their service, concluded Hawley.
Patriot Plan IV includes:
- Patriot Family Support Fund Creates a tax-exempt Patriot Family Support Fund donation designation on New York state income tax returns.
- Performance Duty Disability Retirement Benefits Provides performance of duty disability retirement benefits for state and local government employees who are members of the military or Reserves and are injured in combat.
- Wage Tax Credits Establishes a wage tax credit for businesses that employ members of the National Guard and Reserves, and for businesses that comply with Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act requirements.
- Unemployment Insurance Waiver Waives business unemployment insurance increases due members of the National Guard and Reserves who are ordered to federal or state active duty for more than 30 days.
- Exempt Military Pay Subject to State Income Tax Exempts federal active duty income from state taxes for permanent state residents who maintain a: permanent address in New York state and served on federal active duty outside the state for 90 or more days during the tax year; permanent residence outside the state for the entire tax year; residence in New York other than their permanent address while serving on federal active duty orders.
- Property Tax Exemptions Allows additional official military documentation other than the DD-214 to be eligible for the veterans real property tax exemption.
- Home Loan Guarantee Expands the federal home loan guarantee for VA qualified state National Guard and Reserve veterans by providing a state tax credit for the extra three-quarters of a percent difference in funding fee charges between VA active-duty veterans and eligible guard and reserve veterans.
- Affordable Home Ownership for Disabled Veterans Makes the Affordable Home Ownership Development Program available to homebuyers who are service-related disabled veterans.
- Veterans Assisted Forward Commitment Mortgages Authorizes SONYMA to purchase veterans-assisted forward commitment loans from banks offering low down payments and low interest rates.
- Veterans Home, Rehabilitation and Land Ownership Assistance Loans Authorizes the state Housing Finance Agency (HFA) to provide home purchase and rehabilitation loans of up to 20 percent of the value of the home to honorably discharged veterans. Provides up to 20 percent of the value of a home for rehabilitation and repair or up to $40,000 for the purchase of unimproved real property.
- Child Custody and Divorce Proceedings Ensures that a military parents deployment would not be a factor in a child custody determination when a suitable child care plan is presented.
- National Guard/Reserve Education Benefits for Surviving Family Members Provides free tuition, room and board at SUNY and CUNY schools for survivors of state military personnel who die on state or federal active duty.
- Military Medics and State EMT Qualifications Allows those who have completed the Armys advanced individual training course for combat medic, Navy corpsman training for field medical service technician or Air Force para-rescue to be granted certification as emergency medical technicians in New York.