COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — There is a bill gaining momentum in the Georgia General Assembly that could impact thousands of military retirees in Columbus and across the state.

House Bill 1064 passed the House on Monday and is headed to Senate. The bill – which Gov. Kemp promises to sign if it reaches his desk – would essentially eliminate state income on military pensions.

The state of Georgia taxes military retirement income. The state of Alabama doesn’t.

If Georgia Gov. Brian, state Rep. Richard Smith of Columbus, and others have their way that will change this year.

“This is my bill,” Kemp said. “I campaigned on this. This is something we have been trying to get done. Obviously, two years of COVID has interrupted a lot of the things we have done but this is something that I had promised people I would do when I was running for governor. And I fully intend to sign that bill this year.”

This legislation will exempt up to $17,500 dollars in military retirement income from state income tax for those under 62. If they work and earn up to $17,500 dollars, they can exempt another $17,500 from state income tax for a total of $35,000 dollars.

State power players have lined up to support legislation Smith has been pushing since 2005.

“It is very close to reality,” Smith said. “I know the governor supports it. The speaker of the House supports it. It may have received a unanimous vote this week. I don’t see anything but a yes vote from the Senate.

There are about 12,000 military retirees in the greater Columbus area – Alabama and Georgia. Because that income is not taxed, Alabama military retirees see more of the cash.

But Smith says there is another advantage.

“Fort Benning and the brain trust that’s out there when the retire, you are looking at quality employees whether they go into construction, whether they go into banking or any area,” Smith said. “… To me, this is probably one of the best pieces of legislation I have been working on.”