The City of Columbus wants to give a break to military retirees. The city is working to change legislation on the state-level give a tax break to retired veterans. Of the five states that border Georgia, four of them do not tax military retiree pay.
The city says many retired veterans and their families choose to live in Alabama because of the tax breaks. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson says she wants some of those veterans to cross the river.
"The tax breaks make us non-competitive with some of the surrounding states," says Tomlinson. Alabama has a retired military tax exemption and we'd like to have the same thing to reap welcome and have military families in our area."
Georgia does not tax the first $35,000 of retirement income for citizens 62 years old and older. Military veterans who retire at younger ages from active service and begin to receive payments immediately do not benefit from this program.
Tomlinson says a lot of veterans work in Georgia but pay property and income taxes in border-states. With the growth of Fort Benning due to BRAC, active and retired military are choosing to live in Russell and Lee County in Alabama while working at Fort Benning.
"Our community benefits when these families choose to live in Columbus," says Tomlinson. "Exempting military retiree pay from state income tax will help attract military retirees to Columbus."
The city will vote on the legislative item at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. If approved, the city will take the proposal to the Georgia General Assembly.
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