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Legislature to debate bill to ease military tax burden

Could benefit state veterans

OW Staff Writer | 2/28/2020, midnight

State Sen. Scott Wilk (21st District) has announced the introduction of Senate Bill 1071, bipartisan legislation that would exempt military retirement pay from the state income tax. Sens. Bob Archuleta (D- Pico Rivera), chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) are joint authors of the measure.

“The 21st Senate District is blessed to have many veterans. Their skill sets, education and earning potential make them a great asset to not only the 21st Senate District, but to all of California. We want to keep this talent here as well as show our respect for their service to our nation," said Wilk. "Without some kind of incentive, California’s infamously high taxes and cost of living will continue to push the veteran community right out of state."

Forty-three states provide partial or full exemptions for military retirees who establish residency in their state. California is one of seven states that fully taxes military retirement pay and the impact of this shows when looking at retirement rates. The nation’s military retirement rate has increased a full 17 percent between the years 2000 and 2016, yet California’s military retirement population has declined by 17 percent during that same period.

California should be competing to keep this highly skilled work force in state. The vast majority of military retirees are in their mid-forties and assume new careers post retirement in fields such as engineering, computer science, management, health care, communications, and education.

"California’s military veterans deserve better from Sacramento than having their retirement pay that they worked so hard for to be taxed. That is why I am proud to jointly co-author Senator Wilk’s common-sense measure to provide tax relief to our veterans. It will help keep more veterans in California by giving them an incentive to pursue a second career here, instead of in other states," said Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel).

"For a state that boasts about leading the nation, California is decades behind the rest of the country in encouraging our nation’s heroes to remain in California and continue contributing to our economic success," Wilk added. "Making things a bit more retirement friendly is a step in the right direction."