House Bill 7 could eliminate state income tax for retired Georgia veterans

House Bill 7 could eliminate state income tax for retired Georgia veterans

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Changing how retired military receive their benefits could happen through a new bill in the Georgia House of Representatives.

It would exclude retired veterans from paying state income tax in the Georgia.

The state income tax here in Georgia is roughly six percent, meaning six percent of your income is taken out of each check you take home. This bill, though, would exclude retired military from paying those taxes.

Tamara Smay is the daughter of a retired air force veteran. “He put his 20 years in and served this country," said Tamara Smay, the daughter of a retired Air Force veteran.

When her father passed away last summer, she became responsible for her mother’s care in Columbus which means taking care of her taxes.

Georgia House Bill 7, if passed, would allow her mother to receive her father’s retirement benefits without paying state income tax on them.

“It just makes me feel wonderful,” Smay said, “and secured, I guess, in taking care of her needs for her.”

This state legislation would exclude only retired military and their survivors from paying these taxes. It would not include veterans discharged before retirement or disabled vets.

Bryant Graham is a veteran himself. “I understand the retirements but as far as the disabled vets that’s compensated,” he said. “You know everyone is out there struggling really hard with things going on with health and everything. It would really help all of the veterans, not just the explicit retirees.”

Mike Glanton , a representative for District 75 and a sponsor of this bill, as well as a veteran himself, said he wants to make Georgia a more military-friendly state.

“Military people settle where it’s most military friendly," Glanton said. "People are going to indeed appreciate them for their service, not just in words, flags and parades.”

One criticism of this bill so far is why should these people not pay state income tax when everyone else does?

“They’re special so, outside of the civilians, I mean they’re the ones doing the work for the country,” Smay said. “So I kind of lean toward giving them that benefit and talk about civilians later.”

Glanton said lawmakers have until the 28th legislative day of the current session to pass this bill in order for it to become law in 2020.

Alabama already excludes retired military from state income taxes.

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