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Utah Veterans May Get Tax Exemption under Proposed Bill

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The last three F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 419th Fighter Wing prepare to taxi for departure June 28, 2007 from Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

Utah military veterans could be exempt from paying state income tax under a proposed bill to be considered by the legislature.

Representative Lee Perry drafted House Bill 99, which offers veterans a state tax exemption on retirement income for service in the armed forces. The Republican lawmaker was surprised to learn from a veteran constituent that Utah is one of only 16 states that doesn’t offer this type of exemption.

“It’s a way of saying thank you for your service and for giving up 20 years of possibly making higher salaries and higher money, versus serving our country and keeping our freedom safe,” Perry says.

About 16,000 Utahns receive a military pension. If this bill passes, state agencies estimate a loss of $5.7 million dollars in annual revenue. But Perry believes that money will come back to Utah in other ways.

“There are people who have come here, served at Hill Air Force Base, and would like to retire in Utah," Perry says. "If they came back here and retired from active-duty military, they’re going to get a second job, and we are going to collect income tax on those jobs, as well as they’re going to spend the retirement money on buying houses and cars and all kinds of things, so we can get that money back in sales tax as well.”

The Utah legislature will consider the measure in the next general session, which begins on January 25th.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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