Do­ing the right thing for our vet­er­ans

The Avenue News - - EDITORIAL -

Vet­er­ans are spe­cial peo­ple. When a man or women en­lists in the mil­i­tary they put their lives on the line. They know that in serv­ing their coun­try their lives may be dra­mat­i­cally changed by the scars of bat­tle, wounds both vis­i­ble and in­vis­i­ble. They know that mil­i­tary ser­vice may cost them their lives. Mil­i­tary ser­vice is a line of work like no other. The dan­gers are ever-present and real.

As cit­i­zens of this great coun­try, we can not thank our vet­er­ans enough for their ser­vice. As a State Sen­a­tor, one way I have tried to thank our vet­er­ans is by in­tro­duc­ing leg­is­la­tion to ex­empt Mary­land vet­er­ans’ mil­i­tary re­tire­ment in­come from the state in­come tax. The bill was not ap­proved by the General Assem­bly. I am go­ing to re-in­tro­duce the leg­is­la­tion in the up­com­ing 2018 ses­sion.

Ex­empt­ing Mary­land’s over 50,000 vet­er­ans from tax­a­tion on their mil­i­tary re­tire­ment in­come has the sup­port of Gov­er­nor Larry Ho­gan. In fact, the Gov­er­nor has an­nounced he also plans to re-in­tro­duce his leg­is­la­tion to ex­empt mil­i­tary re­tire­ment in­come from state and lo­cal taxes. I will whole­heart­edly sup­port the Gov­er­nor’s bill. As it should, the Gov­er­nor’s pro­posal will take prece­dence over my bill.

The De­part­ment of Leg­isla­tive Ser­vices puts the 5-year price tag on the vet­er­ans’ tax ex­emp­tion at about $100 mil­lion. That’s a sub­stan­tial amount of money. And I am a strong con­ser­va­tive when it comes to spend­ing the tax­pay­ers’ money. But when you think about the hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars in state spend­ing, the cost of the vet­er­ans’ tax ex­emp­tion is a rel­a­tively mi­nor ex­pense.

Un­der cur­rent Mary­land law, the first $10,000 of mil­i­tary re­tire­ment can be ex­empted from state and lo­cal taxes. Like Mary­land, most states that tax in­come have par­tial ex­emp­tions for mil­i­tary re­tire­ment pay. But we should do more.

The vet­er­ans’ tax ex­emp­tion is not a par­ti­san is­sue. Both Repub­li­cans and Democrats sup­port the bill. As a mat­ter of fact, for­mer Lt. Gov­er­nor An­thony Brown was a strong sup­porter of the vet­er­ans’ tax ex­emp­tion.

Ex­empt­ing state tax­a­tion of vet­er­ans’ mil­i­tary re­tire­ment in­come is the right thing to do. I am hope­ful that the 2018 Mary­land General Assem­bly will do the right thing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.