Bucco: N.J. needs to do more for veterans

State Sen. Anthony Bucco said New Jersey must better support its veterans.

“As we head into Memorial Day weekend, we’re reminded that the men and women in our armed forces put everything on the line in service of our nation,” Bucco (R-Denville) said. “It’s distressing to think that those who serve at our state’s storied military facilities, including Picatinny Arsenal, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and NWS Earle, might not be able to find the support they need in New Jersey after they leave military service.

“As a state, we have a responsibility to better support our veterans.”

Bucco sponsors legislation (S3574) that would provide homeownership assistance for certain current and former military service members. His comments came in response to a report by WalletHub: 2021’s Best & Worst States for Military Retirees.

New Jersey ranks as the 32nd-best state for military retirees and 45th in economic opportunity for veterans, and had the second-lowest number of veterans per capita and the second-lowest percentage of veteran-owned businesses.

“Our poor rankings are likely the result of our state’s crisis of affordability and too few programs to directly support former servicemembers,” Bucco said. “Legislation that would help veterans with down payments for homes, expanded property tax relief and support getting a job or starting businesses would make New Jersey a much friendlier place for our military retirees.”

In the current legislative session, Bucco voted in support of legislation (S956) approved by the Legislature that’s on Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk to extend the veterans’ property tax exemption, and voted for a bill (S2968) to make it easier for veterans to be eligible for a civil service hiring preference for jobs in government.