Rep. Robert Lancia (R-Dist. 16, Cranston) is calling on the state to create a new tax exemption for income derived from military pensions in an effort to entice veterans to stay in Rhode Island.
"As a disabled Navy veteran I understand how difficult it can be for my fellow servicemen and women to survive on their military pensions alone. Rhode Island is one of only a handful of states that fully taxes income derived from these retirement funds leaving us at a severe disadvantage when trying to convince veterans to stay here. This tax exemption will slow the population drain that has plagued our state and help us avoid losing one of our congressional seats," said Lancia.
Rep. Lancia's bill would make Rhode Island more welcoming to veterans by fully exempting military pensions from the state income tax by 2022.
The state has struggled to match the population growth in other parts of the country leading to worries that it will lose a seat in the House of Representatives. Some have proposed offering tax incentives or even payments to new residents in an effort to increase the state's population but few see this as a viable option. Lancia hopes that the exemption will help the state retain its population of over 65,000 veterans and encourage more to move to Rhode Island.
Rep. Bobby Nardolillo co-sponsored the bill and added, "Rhode Island is a wonderful state with a proud military heritage. Our citizens have defended this nation since the American Revolution and yet we continue to lag behind other states in ensuring that our veterans are taken care of. This act would be a way to keep our population from shrinking any further with the added benefit of protecting those who protected us."
The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Bobby Nardolillo (R-Dist. 28, Coventry), Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick), Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) and Rep. James N. McLaughlin (D-Dist. 57, Cumberland, Central Falls).