Veteran’s Trust Fund expected to get a boost from tax donations

HARRISBURG, June 28 – Legislation to put more money in the Veterans’ Trust Fund is headed to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature, thanks in major part to a bill pioneered by state Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, D-Delaware.

Under proposed changes to the state’s tax code, Pennsylvania residents would be able to designate a tax donation of any amount to the fund from their state income tax refund, increasing the opportunity to give directly to our vets. The change is expected to be signed into law by Sunday, along with the commonwealth’s package of annual budget bills.

The VTF issues grants to statewide charitable organizations that assist veterans, veterans service organizations and county directors of veterans affairs to assist veterans in need of shelter and necessities of living. It serves any veteran who is in receipt of their DD Form 214.

“Despite missing big opportunities to help more people and families, Harrisburg got this part of the budget deal right,” O’Mara said. “By adding this voluntary contribution option, we are reaffirming our commitment to our nation's bravest heroes.

"This funding comes from the hearts of others, where the capacity for Pennsylvanians to give for vets is stronger than currently encouraged," she added. "I'm confident that our citizens will heed this call and the Veterans' Trust Fund will see a vital boost in resources."

The provisions of O’Mara’s H.B. 857 were amended into the commonwealth’s budget-related tax code bill.

In addition to this bill, O’Mara’s H.B. 1609 passed the House unanimously last week and is waiting on consideration by the Senate. House Bill 1609 would increase the amount residents can donate to veterans on car registrations through PennDOT, from $3 to $5 when applying for or renewing a driver’s license, ID card or vehicle registration. The amount will increase from $6 to $10 when applying for or renewing a two-year vehicle registration through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation website.