Gov. McMaster calls for tax cut for heroes

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCDB) – On Friday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster called for a major tax cut for police officers, firefighters, military veterans and other heroes.

“There’s no way we will ever be able to repay these men and women in uniform for the true value they add to our state and our community, but this is one example of how we can show our gratitude and appreciation for their service,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “This income tax exemption on retirement pay will reaffirm the unwavering commitment of South Carolinians to these people who have chosen to serve.”

As part of his 2018-2019 budget proposal, the Governor would make the pensions of these heroes exempt from the state income tax.

“They have put their lives on the line for us,” McMaster said.  “We owe them many thanks, and we’ll never be able to repay them the full value of what they have done.”

The governor’s exemption for South Carolina’s 20,370 law enforcement officers, firefighters, and peace officers was similarly score by the RFA and is expected to result in an $8.5 million yearly tax cut – an average of $713 yearly savings for a retiree under the age of 65 and $102 for those 65 and older.

“I want to thank the governor for this great initiative, along with all of our inter-agency partners here,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston, Jr., Adjutant General of South Carolina. “We command troops that do great things for the people of South Carolina and for people across this nation, so thank you for recognizing that sacrifice. The other thing, as a long-term citizen of South Carolina, that I’m excited about is the economic prospect of bringing people into South Carolina for retirement. … Thank you, governor for your leadership and for your commitment to propelling this great state forward.”

“As we gather as leaders across this state and across the country in law enforcement, one of our concerns is recruitment and retention – this initiative is going to put a great tool in our tool box to be able to recruit good people and keep them in our profession,” said Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon. “We can’t say how much we appreciate this initiative – it’s going to go a long way in law enforcement.”

“This is an important day and an important initiative,” said South Carolina’s State Fire Marshal, Jonathan Jones. “This is important, not just to recruit new people to our profession, but to retain those who have dedicated their lives to it so they can pass on the knowledge, skills, and abilities to the next generation of firefighters. The governor mentioned that we can never repay the value of the firefighters who often times, in the execution of their duties, endure perils and some that pay the ultimate sacrifice and put their lives on the line day in and day out for the citizens of South Carolina, and I thank him for the commitment he has shown to our community and look forward to working with him for many years.”

If approved, McMaster’s proposal would add up to a $22 million tax cut in just the first year.

There are nearly 38,000 military veterans living in the Palmetto State.  Gov. McMaster says the public depends on first responders the most during widespread emergencies, like the ongoing snowstorm recovery effort.

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