(Media release from the Office of Governor Brian Kemp):
On Monday, April 18, 2022, Governor Kemp, joined by First Lady Marty Kemp and local, state, and federal leaders, signed the first military retirement income tax exemption in Georgia history (HB 1064); a bill that expedites licenses for military spouses, insuring they are issued within 90 days of applying (HB 884); a bill that allows veterans to use their Veterans Health Identification Card from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs when they seek the service of a public notary (SB 96); and a bill to honor the late Senator Jack Hill by providing taxpayers an opportunity to donate all or a portion of their annual tax refund to scholarships for disabled veterans (SB 87).
An excerpt of Governor Kemp’s remarks from the bill signing ceremony is featured below.
I want to thank the brave men and women here representing the various branches of our military, both active and retired.
If you’re an active or retired member of our Armed Forces, will you please stand and be recognized?
On behalf of Georgians everywhere, I want to thank you for your service to this great nation.
These men and women, and others like them around our state who proudly wear a uniform, have chosen careers of service above self. They make our nation stronger, they defend our freedoms and way of life, and they make our communities better places to call home.
So today, we are taking important steps forward in more fully recognizing and thanking them for those contributions by signing HB 1064, SB 87, SB 96, and HB 884 into law.
Georgia is blessed to have a large number of current and former military members live in our state. In fact, Georgia has the fifth largest military population in the country, with almost 700,000 former servicemembers and over 101,000 military retirees currently residing here.
As I said earlier this year when many of us gathered for a roundtable on these issues, one of the best steps we can take in honoring them is to create a career military retirement-income tax exemption.
Until today, we were the only state in the region – and one of only a few in the entire country – that fully taxed our military retirees up to the age of 62, with limited provisions or exemptions.
By making this adjustment, we’re incentivizing these highly qualified individuals to continue working in their communities when they start second careers, helping Georgia remain the No. 1 state for business.
Our military retirees in Georgia, especially those that I speak to, realize that they wouldn’t have made it to retirement after 20 or 30 years in uniform without the sacrifices of their spouses. So, this is just as much a military family appreciation bill as it is a veterans appreciation bill, reflecting the level of commitment we are making to our retirees and their families.
Creating this tax exemption is the right thing to do… and it will address one of the biggest challenges facing our state – maintaining and growing a qualified workforce. It’s also a promise I made when I ran for governor.
And I’m proud to say that as of today, it is a promise kept!
I’m also proud to be signing the “Senator Jack Hill Veterans’ Act” today, named after a true champion for our veterans and a man I had the honor of serving alongside in the state senate.
This commonsense bill gives Georgia’s hardworking taxpayers the opportunity to donate all or a portion of their annual tax refund to scholarships for disabled veterans through the Technical College System of Georgia Foundation. This is a great program and a fitting way to honor a great Georgian.
But we know that the choice to serve doesn’t just impact our soldiers and sailors, our airmen and marines, our guardsmen, Space Force personnel, and reservists. It impacts their families as well.
HB 884 will help us support the loved ones of those who serve, who likewise risk and sacrifice so much for our country. Another commonsense law to make government more responsive and efficient, it will expedite the issuance of licenses for military spouses so that they can continue to work in their chosen career fields when their husband or wife is stationed here in our state.
Finally, SB 96 will make yet another practical move to make life easier for our veterans, allowing them to use their I.D. Card from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs when they are in need of a notary public.
The bills I will now sign into law further Georgia’s history of valuing and supporting our active and retired military. But I also ask that everyone here and all across the state go a step further by keeping our service men and women in your prayers.
These uniformed heroes are dedicating their lives to a cause greater than themselves in a time when service to our country is not popular among all generations. They’re also choosing to continue on that path at a time when an unprovoked and unjust war is raging in Ukraine, when many of our servicemembers have been deployed to reinforce our NATO allies and more could follow them.
Marty, the girls, and I will continue to keep them and their families in our daily prayers during these troubling times.
With our enemies abroad posing greater threats to democracy and maneuvering against the West, now more than ever, we need a strong military force supported by its country!
That is why – along with the Georgia Congressional delegation – I will continue to fight the decision to close the Combat Readiness Training Center in Savannah. As today reinforces, Georgia will always stand up for those who protect us and our liberties.
Thank you, and God bless!