DeStefano: Help Our Veterans Now!

Assemblyman Joe DeStefano (R,C-Medford) was joined today by his colleagues at a press conference urging the governor to end the unlawful practice of withholding donated tax check-off funds from veteran service agencies and release them immediately. This bipartisan event that took place in the state Capitol was led by Sen. Jake Ashby, Sen. Jessica Scarcella-Spanton and Assemblyman Brian Manktelow, in an effort to bring awareness to the $3.5 million donated by New Yorkers that has not yet been disbursed to veterans and their families.

“I am utterly appalled by the actions of the Department of Veteran Services and our governor in withholding much-needed funds from our very deserving veterans. These funds have been at a standstill for six years now, yet to be disbursed. It’s truly disgraceful that those who have sacrificed so much for our nation are being denied the support they rightfully deserve. Many of these individuals have families that are struggling financially and actually need it. These funds were generously donated by New York state taxpayers, during tax season might I add, with the explicit purpose of aiding our veterans, and that is exactly what is not happening.

Not to mention, today is West Point Day as well. What kind of message are we sending to veterans when our administration is basically telling them this isn’t a top priority for us? Our veterans have bravely served our country, risking their lives to defend our freedoms, and it is unconscionable their well-being is being compromised for political gain.

It’s also important to state that New York has three times the number of veterans as New Jersey, but we only get half the amount of funding as New Jersey. Why are we trying to push New York veterans and their families away? This is not acceptable. We need to fight for our veterans and right this wrong once and for all.”