Tax holiday for front-line workers proposed by NJ congressman
Sporting a similar name to another piece of coronavirus-related legislation that just passed the House of Representatives, a bipartisan measure cosponsored by Rep. Josh Gottheimer aims to relieve some financial pressure for front-line workers and first responders during the pandemic.
The HEROES Act of 2020, introduced by Gottheimer, a Democrat from New Jersey's 5th District, and Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan is short for Helping Emergency Responders Overcome Emergency Situations, as opposed to the other HEROES Act, a $3 trillion relief bill that stands for Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions.
Gottheimer said he supports both HEROES Acts, but that his gives a lifeline to those who are putting themselves in the midst of the crisis every day. Those people will need to apply for the assistance being offered here, but Gottheimer hopes to help as many as possible.
"I think we need to make sure that of course, we only recognize those who deserve it, but the bottom line is there are many who do," he said.
Modeled after the tax holidays afforded to members of the military while on active duty in combat zones, the HEROES Act of 2020 would give a federal income tax holiday, for four months, to doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, EMTs, paramedics, pharmacists, firefighters, law enforcement and corrections officers, hospital and licensed medical facility support staff, and senior care facility staff working during the outbreak.
Gottheimer said not only are these dedicated individuals continuing to show up in person, but some have also gotten sick themselves.
"Part of what I think we all recognize are the heroes that have been on the front lines here at home during this crisis, and we need to make sure that we help them and recognize them," he said. "I've talked to many of them, I've talked to family members, and like always, they put themselves in harm's way, but they just continue to go above and beyond here."
Built into the legislation is an extension of the tax holiday for another three months in potential hot spots where conditions might spike once current restrictions are lifted.
"I think we need to be flexible here because the challenges we're facing are new every day, but the bottom line is our healthcare workers have just continued to be on the front line and put themselves at risk," Gottheimer said.
Above all, Gottheimer said he is grateful for the efforts of these workers, and would be in support of a hazard pay fund for them, another idea that he said has been discussed.