New York state Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece) and Assembly minority colleagues revealed Patriot Plan II, a broad package of tax and other benefits for military men and women that builds on last yearís historic legislation aimed to help New Yorkers called to serve their country.
The package includes a state tax exemption for duty pay and new rules to allow activated troops to qualify for college tuition benefits. These benefits are aimed at further easing financial and other burdens placed on men and women in the National Guard and Reserves, Reilich said.
"Last year, I stood with my colleagues of the Assembly minority conference to outline our first-in-the nation plan to offer aid to the members of our armed forces who were going into harmís way to protect our freedom," Reilich said. "That legislation was later signed into law by the governor as the Patriot Plan. Patriot Plan II builds on the success of the original Patriot Plan, and will make it even easier for New Yorkís citizen-soldiers to balance the duties of military service with the routines of civilian life."
The assemblyman said the enhancements proposed in the Patriot Plan II include:
- A state tax exemption for duty pay,
- Increased pay for NYS military personnel,
- New rules to allow activated troops to qualify for college tuition benefits, and
- Extension of certain tax return deadlines.
Reilich said he favors additional benefits for members of the Guard and Reserve not included in Patriot Plan II, including property tax breaks for Gold Star parents of troops killed in action, employer tax credits for hiring members of the Guard and Reserve, and preferences for soldiers who are forced to suspend their academic studies due to activation. These proposals are the subject of separate legislation.
The original Patriot Plan protects service men and women from housing and employment discrimination, caps loan obligations and allows for termination of auto leases in the event of military activation, provides for automatic extensions of driverís licenses and registrations, and grants free hunting and fishing licenses to eligible service members.
"The series of benefits in this enhanced Patriot Plan are aimed at easing the transition from civilian to active duty life," Reilich said. "These proposals show our appreciation and understanding of the sacrifices that members of our armed forces make to keep us safe."