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Heintzeman, Gazelka author veterans' tax cut provision in supplemental budget

A provision authored by state Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, in the House and state Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, in the Senate that excludes military retirement pay from state income tax was approved by both legislative bodies Sunday, May 22, as part of the supplemental budget bill.

Currently, Minnesota is one of only a handful of states that fully tax retired military veterans' retirement pay. Heintzeman and Gazelka said they wanted to author a bill that would incentivize more veterans to retire in Minnesota.

"I was honored to carry this provision in the House and am grateful that it has been included in the final supplemental budget agreement," Heintzeman said in a news release. "Not only is supporting our veterans the right thing to do, military retirees are well educated and equipped to start second careers, with many having taken advantage of educational opportunities during their time in service. Today's news is a huge win for veterans here in Minnesota."

There are currently close to 18,000 veterans living in Minnesota who will now see their military pensions exempted from state income tax.

"The hard work of many legislators finally paid off," said Gazelka. "Veterans with pension benefits finally get the break they deserve here in Minnesota".

Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, is a 28-year Navy veteran who serves on the House Veterans Committee. He said this provision allows Minnesota to join the vast majority of other states that already provide this exclusion for military retirees that return home after years of service to our country.

"Minnesota's tax policy toward career military returning to the state after retirement historically has been less than welcoming compared to most other states." Lueck said. "Rep. Heintzeman's and Sen. Gazelka's work in this area ensures we can compete with the rest of country for these highly skilled and very experienced individuals adding them to Minnesota's already highly effective and well trained work force."

The supplemental budget bill now heads to Gov. Mark Dayton's desk for his signature.