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Veterans in the Lowcountry react to the new tax exemption law

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 5:32 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Governor Henry McMaster signed a law that fully exempts military retirement pay from taxation in South Carolina.

“This just amplifies and puts the punctuation mark on the military friendly environment that we reside within,” Neal Pugliese, Retired Colonel & Chairman, Military Enhancement Committee said.

A county filled with around 26,000 veterans and a Marine Corp Air Station, now even more welcoming to those who’ve served.

“Here we are, 100% tax exemption for military retirees with no earned income cap,” Will Grimsley, Retired Major General & Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs SC said.

That means a direct financial impact.

“It could put $300-$400 back in their pocket each month and that with today’s economy is a great benefit to them,” Caroline Fermin, Retired Lieutenant Colonel & Executive Director, Parris Island Heritage Foundation said.

But veterans at the state and local level say it’s about far more than the money.

“Much more important than that is the human capital investment in the fabric of the society of South Carolina.”

All the retirees WTOC spoke with, echoing that sentiment.

“It’s a great asset because it not only attracts, but will retain military veterans, which really enhances our workforce.”

Years before this was signed, Fermin says as she was retiring out of US Central Command in Tampa, she wanted to come back home to Beaufort no matter the tax situation but says many coworkers weren’t able to look past it.

“A lot of my fellow veterans were selecting their next home based on which states were veteran friendly, meaning which states were not taxing their retirement pay,” Fermin said.

Now, South Carolina is one of those 30+ states meaning more people like Fermin and Pugliese are likely on their way to Beaufort county.

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