Men and women in uniform could save big with proposed tax exemption

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA)–South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced a tax reform plan that would save money for those who serve in uniform. The proposal would exempt all military, first responders, and law enforcement retirement income from state income taxes.

“There will probably never be enough money to pay them but we’d like to pay them for what they do,” said Governor McMaster while announcing his new tax exemption plan. The proposal would allow retirement income for men and women to be exempt from state income taxes. It would not only save retired officers money, but it would help departments hire and keep staff.

“The economy is booming and when that happens it’s hard to compete with private sector and industries. They’re able to offer a lot of production bonuses and incentives that we can’t offer in the government. so it’s definitely fierce competition and this workforce that’s coming now is shopping that around,” said Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon.

The tax exemption could save the average military retiree under age 65 more than $500 a year. Firefighters and members of law enforcement could save even more.

Sheriff Koon explained why it’s hard to keep good employees. “With all the national stuff over the past few years, it’s been hard to attract young people into our profession. So hopefully this initiative gives us another tool in the tool box to recruit good people.”

But for those serving in uniform the savings mean so much more. “‘I’ll be able to live, but I’ll be able to live a bit better than I would have been able to otherwise,” said Sheriff Lee Foster of Newberry County.

Savings are less for retirees 65 and older because they are already able to deduct more from their state income tax for retirement.