Missouri bill would cancel state income taxes for military

Sunday, March 6, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Active-duty Missouri residents stationed in the state wouldn't pay state income taxes under a bill approved in the Missouri Senate.

Officials from Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base were on hand for the Senate's 31-0 vote Thursday, which was Military Appreciation Day, the Jefferson City News Tribune reported. The vote sent the measure to the House.

Sen. Wayne Wallingford, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, sponsored the bill. The Republican from Cape Girardeau said Missouri "always has been considered a friendly military state, (and) we want Missouri always to have that reputation."

If the legislation is approved, the change could cost the state more than $12 million in general revenue.

Sen. David Pearce, a Warrensburg Republican whose district includes Whiteman, co-sponsored the bill. He said Whiteman has about 7,000 employees and Fort Leonard Wood about 36,000.

Sen. Will Kraus, also a veteran and a current member of the Missouri National Guard, said the military has a large economic impact in the state.

"Millions and millions of dollars are spent here because our bases are here," said Kraus, a Republican from Lee's Summit. "This is an opportunity to recognize their efforts in the state of Missouri."

Kraus abstained from the final vote on the bill, noting, "Although this bill does not directly impact the National Guard, there might be a time when I would be called to active duty, I would prefer to be excused from this vote."

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