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Veterans hopeful for end to state tax on military retirement benefits

There could be a tax break on the way for some military members in South Carolina. That's if supporters of a bill seeking to end the state's tax on military retirement benefits get their way.

Many veterans would describe their time serving in the military as being tough. For others, like retired Army veteran Melvin Zuber, life after military service can be even tougher.

"Not just right after you get out, but maybe a year or two or longer afterwards," Zuber said.

Zuber is one of many in favor of getting rid of the state's income tax on military retirement benefits.

"If you can save veterans money, I think that's a good thing, a positive thing," retired Navy veteran Chet Vacey said.

So far, several bills have been introduced in the House and Senate with plans to do just that. Last session, House members approved ending the tax, but it still hasn't been up for debate in the Senate.

"We've done our time, we've paid our taxes so we could get our retirement the whole time we're in the military we're paying taxes," Vacey said. "I'm not a budget person so I don't know how hard it would hit the South Carolina economy."

Past estimates suggest a price tag of $22 million, according to the South Carolina Board of Economic Advisors.

Many veterans say getting rid of this tax would help South Carolina, not hurt it.

"I think it would bring more people here actually," Zuber said.

"With the job growth in the area, especially here in Charleston with Boeing and everything else that's going on and Streit, it is a big draw," Vacey said.

The state chairman for the Military Base Task Force, William Bethea, also weighed in on the topic. He believes supporters have a good shot at getting the bill passed this time around.

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