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Lawmaker to present income tax exemption bill for veterans

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Posted at 9:42 PM, Jan 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 23:42:06-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Retired military veterans are being told to stay away from Utah.

The Beehive State is one of 16 states that does not offer military veterans an income tax exemption on their retirement income and some say it’s time for that to change.

“Utah was one of the states they said do not move to,” said Mike Dunn of Brigham City.

After traveling the world for decades, serving as a colonel and fighter pilot in the Air Force, Mike Dunn had to find a place to settle down when he retired from the military in 1996.

“They had one of the things to talk about of where to go and where not to go based upon financial advantages of being in certain states and being in other states,” Dunn recalled.

Dunn said he was told to steer clear of Utah and the other 15 states that do not offer an income tax exemption on veteran's retirement.

“It creates a brain drain where you have these people with 20-plus years of experience in the military that say I don't want to go to a place where they are taxing my retirement,” Dunn said.

Dunn is now debating to move and decided to bring the topic to the attention of Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry.

“It was a little surprising it caught me a little off guard certainty something I would like to see be brought to Utah because of the fact I don't want to be one of the states that says hey we don't care about our military retirees,” Perry said.

Perry drafted house bill 99, which amends the tax code to add an exemption for military veterans. While this will cut the state's tax revenue by $5 to $7 million.

Perry said it will pay off in the long run by circulating new money and with military retirees getting second jobs.

“It's just like when we give a business a benefit to come to Utah and say, ‘hey look at the jobs and money it brings back into the state,’” Perry said.

Dunn is anticipating the day the bill makes it to the legislature.

“It's good I think it's about time,” Dunn said.

There's about 16,000 military retirees in Utah In comparison to the rest of the nation that ranks in the bottom third.

This will bill will be discussed during the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 25.