Governor Wes Moore of Maryland testified in support of a bill that would give military retirees a larger tax break.
“As we made clear by the members of the panel, their veterans’ community continues to serve long after they have taken off the uniform,” the governor said. “These are people who have shown a commitment not just to country, but also a commitment to community, and people who will have a continued opportunity to do so, and our priority should be to make sure they are doing it here.”
“These are veterans we need. These are veterans we want. These are the neighbors, these are the public servants, these are the community groups and the community group leaders that we want to have in our ranks,” said Moore. “The investments proposed in this bill are investments in our business community, our workforce and the social fabric of our state.”
The proposed law would allow individuals who receive retirement income as a result of being inducted into or a member of the U.S. armed forces, the Maryland National Guard, or serving in active duty in the corps of the Public Health Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or the Coast and Geodetic Survey to subtract more money from their income tax.
“What this would allow us to do is stay consistent, and keep pace with our neighbors,” Moore said in his testimony. “It can become Maryland’s decade because our veterans can do what they’ve historically done, which is help to lead the way.”
The bill, which is cross-filed in the Senate as SB553, has 69 sponsors in the House and has no in-person unfavorable testimony.
“These are public servants, and these public servants are starting families, making friends, they’re building their lives here in the state of Maryland, and we cannot continue to lose them to other states,” Moore continued. “As I’ve said before, I refuse to let this state be a farm team for other states.”
The Keep Our Heroes Home Act would save veteran families an estimated $30 million annually and would help Maryland to keep veterans in the state. The bill will also impact whether retired military personnel, like Heidi Fleming, choose to retire in Maryland.
The governor’s budget allows for $33 million annually starting in fiscal year 2024 for this bill. Maryland is one of just 14 states that does not have a complete exemption of military retirement income from taxation.
“This bill will save veteran families an estimated $30 million annually,” said Moore. “The true benefit of this bill cannot be reflected in the dollars and cents, though. The true benefit of this bill is that it’ll keep people—like the ones who are behind me — here inside the state of Maryland.”
“The current tax on military pension is a factor on if I will continue to stay in Maryland upon full retirement,” she said. “The Keep Our Heroes Home Act will be impactful to myself and others making that final decision on where to retire. Invest in the community, both in volunteering and financially supporting the economy.