Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Assembly Clears Singleton, Benson, Wilson, Fuentes & Quijano ‘New Jersey Homeless Veterans Grant Program Act’ Bill
Measure Would Allow Contributions to Organizations that Support Homeless Veterans Through Voluntary Deduction on State Income Taxes
(TRENTON) – The General Assembly recently approved legislation sponsored by Democrats Troy Singleton, Daniel R. Benson, Gilbert L. “Whip” Wilson, Angel Fuentes and Annette Quijano that would allow New Jersey residents to make a voluntary donation on their gross income tax return to support homeless veterans.
“We cannot be indifferent to the plight of these brave men and women, who did what their duty required and fought for our country and our freedoms while their own lives suffered,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “If every individual in the state gave a dollar, the term ‘homeless veteran’ might no longer be applicable in New Jersey.”
“These are soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines; they are heroes,” said Benson (D-Mercer). “And some of these heroes now need our help to keep a roof over their heads. This fund not only helps raise awareness of their plight, it will help some veterans get back on their feet.”
“How embarrassing and maddening it must be for our veterans to have fought to keep our freedoms intact overseas and then to come back to find that they are powerless to keep a roof over their families,” said Wilson (D-Camden), a member of the committee. “Our veterans fought to protect the American dream yet are coming home to a nightmare. Our donations can and will help.”
“To see some of our fighting men and women who have sacrificed so much for us be reduced to homelessness because of their devotion to our country is just plain wrong,” said Fuentes (D-Camden). “Legislation like this can help set thing right, however, by calling attention to the problem and giving concerned residents a direct way to help.”
“How can we tell someone that fought to defend our homes that they no longer have one to come back to,” said Quijano (D-Union). “We can’t and we shouldn’t. And maybe, if enough people chip in a few dollars from their income tax return, we won’t have to in the future.”
The bill (A-2011), entitled the “New Jersey Homeless Veterans Grant Program Act,” would establish a special “Homeless Veterans Grant Fund” in the state Department of the Treasury, which would be funded by voluntary gross income tax contributions from New Jersey residents. Annually the Treasury would disburse the money in the fund to the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, which would then award grants to organizations that assist homeless veterans in New Jersey. The grants would be distributed on a competitive basis. Organizations wishing to apply for a grant under this program would submit an application to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
The Assembly passed the measure 74-0. An identical bill was approved in October by the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and is now awaiting consideration by the Senate President.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Green & Sumter Bill to Help Communities Transform Idle Health Care Facilities into Newly Productive Health Care Centers Clears Assembly
(TRENTON) – The General Assembly on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green and Assemblywoman Shavonda E. Sumter to help transform ailing or obsolete health care facilities into productive health care centers once again.
“Shifts in population, economic pressures and scientific advancement often lead to the construction of new hospital facilities and the closing of older hospitals,” said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “This is unfortunate for the communities that house these once productive hospitals because they often contribute greatly to local employment and tax revenue. This legislation would aid in repurposing former hospitals health in a positive transition to health centers that can still provide much needed support to the community.”
“If we can help transform these former hospitals into centers for the delivery of other health care and support services then we can achieve a win-win for our communities,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Barnert Hospital in Paterson is a perfect example of a productive transformation from hospital to community health center. This bill would support transitions such as Barnert’s in other areas of the state.”
The bill (A-3043) would grant corporation business tax credits to developers who make certain capital investments for repurposing qualified health care facilities. Under the bill, a qualified health care facility is any licensed health care facility that has been granted a certificate of need to cease all or partial operation. The bill restricts the function of a repurposed facility to a non-acute health care and health support services center, and requires a credit applicant to demonstrate that such an investment will not destabilize the supply and delivery of acute health care services in its market.
The bill would allow the developer of a repurposed qualified health care facility to qualify for corporation business tax credits equal to 100 percent of the capital investment, if that capital investment is at least $10 million and is applied towards repurposing a facility that will have tenants with a total of 100 or more full-time employees. Annually for ten years the taxpayer may use a credit equal to 10 percent of the qualified capital investment.
The bill was approved 46-25-2 by the Assembly and now awaits further consideration by the Senate.