SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A tax break could be coming soon for Georgia’s military retirees.
Lawmakers are considering a bill that would eliminate the state’s income tax on all military retirements.
“I chose not to worry about the money I chose more to worry about the career and what I could do for my country,” said Jim Vejar, a retired veteran.
Vejar served in Vietnam, and after over two decades in the military, he knows a thing or two about retirement pay.
“Base pay is only a small percentage of it and then if you get 50 percent of that, that isn’t much,” said Vejar. “So you add that, maybe some social security to it, and that’s sometimes all the benefits this gentleman or woman is going to get.”
In Georgia, there are some special provisions for military retirement pay; taxpayers who are 62 and older, or permanently and totally disabled may be eligible for a retirement income adjustment.
But, many leave the service at middle age.
“There’s just no way. I mean you are 37 years old at the earliest. What can you do?” asked Vejar. “You know, you are living on 50 percent of what you were making at the top 36 months that you were making when you got out.”
Republican Jesse Petrea is one of the representatives sponsoring the bill. He tells News 3 he’s been working on getting it passed since 2015.
“It’s the right thing to do for people that have sacrificed an entire career of military service,” said Petrea. “Secondly, our biggest challenge today in this country and certainly in Georgia, as well as other states, is workforce.”
He is hoping the bill will attract more military retirees to Georgia — and hopefully keep them here.
“What I am trying to do is to incentivize people that are patriotic and disciplined, have skills that are our workforce that our business sector needs,” said Petrea.
He hopes to get a hearing for the bill soon and bring it before a committee. If the committee passes it, it moves to the floor for a vote.
Petrea said the bill has a long way to go, but he’s hopeful.