While many troops are serving in combat zones, their families are at home often trying to make ends meet. In an effort to help military families pay for emergencies, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C- Schenectady-Saratoga) and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward (R-Willsboro) are introducing legislation to create the "HOME" fund: Helping Our Military in Emergencies, a fund financed by a $1 check off on New York’s state tax returns.
"Our troops are not the only people making sacrifices for our freedom," said Tedisco. "Their families make personal and, often, financial sacrifices. Having a family member serving in the military can mean less revenue coming in to run a household. The HOME fund will help military families through difficult times."
The fund would be established by the state Division of Military and Naval Affairs and funded solely by taxpayers who want to donate by voluntarily checking a box that would appear on their state tax return. The money would be used to help families encountering financial emergencies while their loved ones are serving in a combat zone.
"Unfortunately, we all experience unforeseen expenses such as car repairs, increased utility bills and necessary home repairs," Sayward said. "For families with loved ones serving our country, these expenses can often be difficult to afford. Passage of the HOME fund legislation would provide needed relief for many military families and give taxpayers the chance to help our troops serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan."
Tax return check offs have proven successful in the past. The Breast Cancer Research and Education Fund check off raised over $550,000 last year while the Gift to Wildlife fund raised $520,000.
"These small contributions can make a world of difference to military families trying to pay their bills," said Tedisco and Sayward. "We urge the Legislature to act on this bill as soon as possible. Our military families depend on it."