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Retired servicemembers would pay no state taxes on service pensions under proposed state law

Assemblymember James Ramos speaking at Redlands Jennie Davis Park and discussing his proposed bill AB-1623.
Jonathan Linden
91.9 KVCR
Assemblymember James Ramos speaking at Redlands Jennie Davis Park and discussing his proposed bill AB-1623 on April 8, 2022.

Under newly proposed state legislation, retired U.S. service members would not have to pay taxes on their retirement pensions.

Highland assemblymember James Ramos has introduced assembly bill 1623, which would exempt servicemember retirees starting at the age of 60. "This is an opportunity to honor our military service personnel in their retirement," Ramos said.

Ramos says the bill will make California more veteran-friendly and be a step in the right direction. "Now that they're retiring here in the community, (in) San Bernardino County (and) the state of California... if they served our country, the retirement benefits they get should be tax-exempt," Ramos said.

According to AARP, California is only one of four U.S. states taxing all military retirement income.

Jeffery Brieten is a retired Marine Corps veteran and says this the bill will encourage veterans to stay in the state. "We need to try to stop the exodus out of the State of California, and one way is to give military retiree's a little bit of room where they can look down the road and say hey, my military retirement, it's not gonna be tax-free the day I retire, but it (will be on) my 60th birthday, so hey, I'm gonna stay here knowing in the future I'm going to get some benefit for it," Brieten said.

AB 1623 is supported by nearly a dozen veteran organizations but is opposed by the California Tax Reform Association. In a state document, they say retired servicemembers already receive generous retirement benefits and that there shouldn't be a reason to single out one service population and not others like teachers, firefighters, or law enforcement.

Jonathan Linden was a reporter at 91.9 KVCR in San Bernardino, California. He joined KVCR in July 2021 and served with the station till October 2022.