A former Republican state senator and the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey believes that the people working on the front lines of the pandemic should be given a year-long tax holiday.

In a column for InsiderNJ.com, Kevin O'Toole praised the "front-line heroes in this new age war," which include nurses, doctors and all health care professionals .

"The men and women of law enforcement, fire, military all belong in a special class of recognition that can never be diminished. The public employees who are keeping our roads, tunnels, bridges, airports, ports and other avenues of transportation open are heroes in their own right," O'Toole wrote.

Port Authority CEO Rick Cotton tested positive for the virus in early March but has since recovered.

As a gesture of appreciation for their efforts, O'Toole proposed exempting nurses, doctors, health care professionals, military and police officers and firefighters from state and federal taxes for 2020.

"Let’s make sure that this isn’t abused and reserved for those truly toiling in the midst of the work of savings lives, those who deal with death and making life altering decisions," O'Toole wrote.

He also proposed creating a life insurance pool for health care professionals working at hospitals.

"While no amount of money can replace this precious life, how can we in good conscience leave that ravaged family with mounting debt and one less resource to provide for the family, especially left behind children," O'Toole wrote.

Whether or not such a plan becomes reality remains to be seen, especially when the state is looking at drops in revenue because of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Gov. Phil Murphy has extended the current fiscal year by three months to Sept. 30, with a supplemental appropriation needed from the Legislature to keep state government operating in July, August and September.

Income and sales tax revenues are also expected to drop dramatically because of the governor's emergency order closing non-essential businesses and retailers. Some of that will be offset by $3 billion in federal aid but the exact amount the state has yet to be determined.

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