Legislation to exempt Oklahoma soldiers from state income tax on federal pay has been signed into law. Senate Bill 881, authored by Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Gary Banz, R-Midwest City, was signed by Gov. Brad Henry on Tuesday. The tax exemption will apply to all troops, whether they are National Guard, Reserve or active.
On behalf of Oklahomas soldiers, Rep. Banz and I want to express our gratitude to Governor Henry for signing this measure, Russell said. Right now, were losing two out of three soldiers when they relocate their residency to others states with more favorable tax laws. Now, we can tell those soldiers, welcome back home to Oklahoma.
Russell pointed out that for every 10,000 soldiers that change their residency, Oklahoma loses $6 million in just motor vehicle fees alone. He said the positive effect of retaining those soldiers would more than offset the cost of the tax break.
According to the Department of Defense, Oklahoma should have 54,000 soldiers. Instead there are approximately 21,000 Oklahomans in the service, Russell said. We estimate that this action could persuade more than 30,000 Oklahomans to reclaim their state residency.
Russell also thanked Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee and Speaker Chris Benge, along with fellow members for their support. The measure will take effect on July 1, 2010.