Gopal Responds to State Gun Divestment


In response to the State Investment Council’s decision to sell a $1.9 million stake in Vista Outdoor, a company that manufactures semi-automatic rifles, Senator Vin Gopal said the following:

I am encouraged to see the State Investment Council has responded to our call for responsible investment practices and divested from a manufacturer of semi-automatic rifles," Senator Gopal said.

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Gopal Urges Veterans to Take Advantage of Income Tax Exemption

The Veteran Income Tax Exemption allows eligible veterans to receive a $3,000 exemption on their income tax.

If you are a veteran who was honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces, or if you are the spouse of a veteran who passed away in 2017, you are eligible for this exemption.

To claim the Veteran Income Tax Exemption, you must fill out a submission form and send it to the New Jersey Division of Taxation along with a Certificate of Release of Discharge from Active Duty. You will not be able to claim this exemption without completing this application process.

This is a well-deserved tax break for our veterans and I want to ensure every veteran in the district can take advantage of it. Our office is available for assistance with the application process. To request a Veteran Income Tax Exemption submission form, call our office at 732-695-3371 or request a form online here.


Gopal and Sarlo: Save Property Tax Dollars By Capping Sick Day Bonuses

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Senators Vin Gopal and Paul Sarlo introduced legislation to save property tax dollars by extending the cap on unused sick day bonuses.

The bill limits payment to public employees for accumulated unused sick leave upon retirement to $15,000. Current law places this cap on public employees hired since 2010. The Gopal/Sarlo legislation would extend that cap to all current public employees, including county, local, and school district employees for any new sick days accumulated.

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Gopal, Houghtaling and Downey Promote Veterans Income Tax Exemption

Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey urge residents to apply for an Income Tax Exemption that benefits local veterans.

The Veteran Income Tax Exemption allows eligible veterans to receive a $3,000 exemption on their Income Tax returns.

“New Jersey’s veterans are heroes who have made significant sacrifices to serve and protect this nation. Now, it is our turn to serve them. This income tax exemption is the least we can do in an effort to repay our debt of gratitude,” said Sen. Gopal.

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Gopal, Houghtaling and Downey Announce Ocean Community Economic Action Now Funding

Screen_Shot_2018-03-07_at_3.26.34_PM.pngSenator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey announce Ocean Community Economic Action Now, Inc. [OCEAN], has been approved to receive a $457,686 award from the Heating Improvement Program.

This funding will provide funds to improve heating system efficiency in the homes of eligible households in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

“We are thrilled to see this funding be made available to Monmouth County’s most vulnerable populations,” Sen. Gopal said. “Our residents should not have to worry about being able to properly heat their homes during the winter. This infusion of funding goes a long way towards achieving that goal.”

 

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Gopal Introduces Firearm Restrictions Bill Package

powerful-handguns.jpgSenator Vin Gopal introduced three pieces of legislation to better regulate firearms in the wake of the tragic Parkland, Florida, shooting that claimed 17 innocent lives and the subsequent national outcry for more stringent gun laws.

The three-part bill package includes a bill that prohibits an individual who has been convicted of animal cruelty from possession or purchasing a firearm; a bill requiring the safe storage of a firearm and establishing penalties for improper firearm storage; and a bill which establishes a process by which a family or household member, law enforcement agency, or an employee of a high school or institution of higher education may petition a court to have a person’s firearms temporarily seized upon finding that the person poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others.

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Gopal Introduces Legislation Banning The Investment of Pension Funds in Gun Manufacturers

TRENTON – Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) introduced legislation prohibiting the investment of New Jersey public employee pension funds or annuities in any gun manufacturing companies. Assemblywoman Joann Downey and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling will introduce the legislation in the General Assembly at their next quorum.

“We cannot stand by and let gun manufacturers, that profit by producing weapons, benefit from the investment of our pension funds,” said Gopal. “With this bill we are sending a message that New Jersey is making a conscious decision about the type of companies the state should invest in.”

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Gopal, Houghtaling, Downey Decry Increase in Anti-Semitic Incidents

hands-1939895_960_720.pngOCEAN TOWNSHIP – Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey call on all New Jersey residents to unite against the rash of anti-Semitic incidents that have scourged the state.

In 2017, there were 208 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey – a 32 percent increase from 2016 and the third most of any state in the nation, according an Anti-Defamation League report published Feb. 27.

Incidents include 110 reports of vandalism, 95 reports of harassment and three reported incidents of physical assaults. Overall, New Jersey accounted for one-tenth of the 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents reported across the country last year and saw incidents in nearly every county of the state.

“This rash of bigotry and hatred cannot and will not be tolerated in New Jersey,” said Sen. Gopal.

“As residents, as neighbors, as human beings, we must do better. Our country is inundated with messages of hate and ignorance each and every day. We cannot allow these messages to push us to acts of vandalism, harassment and violence. It is up to us to denounce this disgusting behavior, to rise above the hate and learn to embrace and accept our neighbors, regardless of religion or culture.”

“To characterize these incidents as unacceptable is an understatement,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling.

“I call on each and every New Jerseyan to do better. We must not accept the rise of anti-Semitism in our great state as the new normal. Rather, we must overcome the hate and redefine the ways in which we treat one another. We each have the power to make the choice, to choose how we treat one another and in making that choice, create a safer, more tolerant New Jersey.”

“To see such a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents in our state is absolutely heartbreaking and underscores the fact that now, more than ever, we must come together as a state,” Assemblywoman Downey said.

“We must learn to look past our differences, to find value in what makes us unique – be it our religion, our ethnicity, our appearance – and base our actions and our beliefs on a foundation of acceptance rather than ignorance. New Jersey must set a better example for the nation during this tumultuous time.”

New Jersey has a population of approximately 545,450 Jewish residents, according to a 2016 data from the Jewish Virtual Library.

 

 


Gopal Welcomes Delta Headquarters Relocation

Sen. Vin Gopal would welcome Delta Air Lines' headquarters to New Jersey should the company choose to relocate.stock-delta-02-company-1-640x360.jpg

After Delta, one of the state’s largest employers, announced it will no longer offer discounted fares to National Rifle Association members, Georgia legislators vowed to kill legislation slated to provide financial incentives to the company.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle demanded Monday the Atlanta-based airline reinstate its relationship with the NRA or be faced with the loss of a $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel, of which Delta would be the primary beneficiary.

Should Lt. Gov. Casey follow through on his threat -- and should Delta find it necessary to relocate as a result -- Sen. Gopal hopes Delta Air Lines will consider New Jersey for the site of its new headquarters and will happily meet with Delta leaders to establish a deal that meets the needs of both the company and the residents of New Jersey.

“Unlike the state legislators in Georgia, we are not going to negotiate business deals on behalf of the NRA,” Sen. Gopal said.

“New Jersey is a desirable state for both local and national businesses, made evident by the fact that Newark is among the final 20 cities under consideration for Amazon’s newest headquarters. We would be proud to add Delta to the growing list of businesses that call the Garden State home.

“If Georgia legislators choose to prioritize the NRA over one of the state’s largest employers, New Jersey will happily welcome Delta with open arms. We would be extremely excited about the prospect of sitting down with Delta’s leaders to see how we can reach an agreement to bring their headquarters to New Jersey. Georgia’s loss would most assuredly be our gain.”

Delta joined several companies, including United Airlines, Best Western, MetLife and nearly a dozen others in eliminating discounts or incentives for NRA members following the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the high school, killing 17 students and staff members with an AR-15-style weapon.

 


Gopal, Houghtaling and Downey Announce Transportation Funds for Monmouth Towns

OCEAN TOWNSHIP – Sen. Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey announce 13 Monmouth County municipalities within District 11 will receive over $4.2 million in funding through the Department of Transportation Municipal Aid Program.510411610.jpg

“The infusion of over $4.2 million in grant funding for roadway projects into District 11 is a massive win for our residents,” said Sen. Gopal. “Not only will these projects ensure roadways throughout the district are safe and navigable, they will not have any negative impacts on local property taxes – a key concern for many Monmouth County families.”

“We are excited to have had the opportunity to work with the Murphy administration to secure funding for vital road projects throughout the district,” Assemblyman Houghtaling said. “We are thrilled and grateful to see so many District 11 municipalities receive funding through the Municipal Aid Program.”

“A wet winter like the one we just experienced wreaks havoc on our roads, leaving behind potholes and other damage that could prove dangerous to drivers.” Assemblywoman Downey said. “It is crucial that municipalities have access to grant funding to complete roadway improvements in order to ensure the safety of both Monmouth County residents and visitors.”

A total of $4,249,980 in grant funding will be distributed to District 11 municipalities, including: Allenhurst Borough, $324,000 for the Cedar Avenue project; Asbury Park City, $429,595 for Deal Lake Drive reconstruction; Deal Borough, $350,000 for phase III of the Ocean Avenue project; Eatontown Borough, $350,000 for Malibu Drive resurfacing; Freehold Township, $350,000 for phase II of the Double Creek Parkway project; Interlaken Borough, $150,000 for improvements to Raymere Avenue; Long Branch City, $260,000 for phase II of the Branchport Avenue project; Neptune City, $260,000 for improvements to Windsor Avenue; Neptune Township, $386,385 for improvements to Heck Avenue; Ocean Township, $350,000 for Phase I of the Bowne Road project; Red Bank Borough, $350,000 for White Street roadway improvements; Shrewsbury Borough, $350,000 for improvements to Obre Place; and West Long Branch Borough, $340,000 for Maryland Avenue roadway reconstruction.

This year’s Municipal Aid Program will inject $161 million in grant funding into municipalities throughout the state – more than double last year’s amount.

 


Gopal Sponsored Bill to Provide Financial Assistance to Wineries and Vineyards Advances

TRENTON  Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew and Senator Vin Gopal that would provide financial assistance to wineries and vineyards in New Jersey was approved by the Senate today.

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“New Jersey wineries and vineyards are an important part of our local economies.  The EDA provides assistance to small businesses that cannot receive loans from banks, and this will be a major benefit to vineyards and wineries that have a difficult time attaining those loans,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland).  “Expanding the operations of vineyards and wineries will not only be good for local economies, it will also be good for the prospects of job growth.”

“The wine industry in New Jersey has the opportunity to become well-known around the country,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth).  “Not only will this help to spur economic development in these counties, it will also allow us to increase tourism to the Jersey Shore as well.  The Jersey Shore is arguably one of New Jersey’s most striking features, and tourists will want to come to our state to enjoy both.”

S-1057 requires the EDA, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, to establish a loan program for certain vineyard and winery capital expenses.  Its purpose is to increase the size and output of both wineries and vineyards. 

Under the bill, the EDA would provide loans to eligible vineyards and wineries to pay for expenditures for land acquisition or improvement, infrastructure acquisition or modernization, and the purchase or modernization of machinery and equipment.  The loan amounts would be between $10,000 and $100,000, with interest rates between three and five percent, and terms up to ten years.  The EDA would be authorized to conduct annual financial audits of its lenders to ensure the viability of their operations. 

The bill was approved by the Senate by a vote of 38-0, and will next head to the Assembly for further consideration.


Senator Gopal Lauds Confirmation of Colonel Jemal Beale as Adjutant General

TRENTON – Senator Vin Gopal issued the following statement on the confirmation of Colonel Jemal J. Beale as the Adjutant General of New Jersey:

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“I would like to congratulate New Jersey’s newly confirmed Adjutant General, Colonel Jemal J. Beale.  Colonel Beale works hard on behalf of the men and women in uniform, as well as, in the community of Ocean Township, where he lives.

“The Adjutant General oversees and leads the 8,400 men and women in New Jersey’s National Guard and Airmen.  The Adjutant General also manages the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs, its programs, commissions, and facilities in New Jersey. 

“Colonel Beale is a decorated combat veteran.  For his service and valor, his awards include the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal, among others.

“The Colonel has held commander positions in Sea Girt, Fort Dix, and in Afghanistan.  He has distinguished himself serving the country and the state, and has served overseas in countries such as Afghanistan, Albania, Germany, and Italy. 

“Colonel Beale has sacrificed for the safety and security of our state and country; I know that he will continue his distinguished career by serving New Jersey as Adjutant General with honor.”

The Adjutant General of New Jersey is the head of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.  The Adjutant General also oversees and leads the states National Guard and Airmen. 


Gopal Voices Support for RGGI Executive Order: "It's Time for New Jersey to be an Environmental Leader Again"

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HIGHLANDS -- Senator Vin Gopal released the following statement in support of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative:

“Today is a day future generations of New Jerseyans will thank us for. I am excited to see Governor Murphy taking swift action to support our environment and there is no better place to do it than right here in Monmouth County. Readmission to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will put us on a path toward a cleaner environment for our children and help drive green innovation throughout the state of New Jersey.

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