By Senator Pete Ricketts
The brave women and men who wore the uniform, and their families, made great sacrifices to serve our country. As President John F. Kennedy once said: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” Our veterans deserve not just our gratitude, but also our commitment. As a nation, we commit to give them the quality benefits and care they’ve earned. In Nebraska, we proved that is just the start. When I was Governor, we also committed to reducing the burdens our veterans face to maximize their benefits. It’s time Washington makes that same commitment.
That’s why this week I’ve introduced the Tax Cuts for Veterans Act in the U.S. Senate. My bill would make military retirement pay tax-free at the federal level. It is the fourth piece of legislation in my “Proven Nebraska Solutions Ready for America” package.
In 2021, at my request, Colonel Tom Brewer introduced LB387, which eliminated state income tax on military retirement benefits. LB387 was a big win for our state, for Nebraska’s job creators, and for military families looking to put down roots in Nebraska. It was not a Republican priority or a Democrat priority. It was a Nebraska priority. Not one state senator voted against it. It was a strong, bipartisan endorsement of a common-sense idea.
This policy has worked for veterans across Nebraska. Lawmakers in Washington should come together and do the same for veterans across the country. Doing so would give real relief to veterans and their families in this time of stubbornly high inflation. Consider an enlisted soldier, sailor, guardsman, or airman who serves for 20 years. My bill would result in tax relief of over $6,000 per year. That comes out to an extra $500 more per month. That’s extra money for necessities like groceries and gas, or even savings for the future or a rainy day.
In Nebraska, we proved it’s possible. It’s time to eliminate federal taxes on military retirement for veterans across the country. By passing my Tax Cuts for Veterans Act, we can take a significant step to better the lives of veterans and their families. I will never stop fighting to make sure our veterans get the support they’ve earned.
This Veterans Day, let us rededicate ourselves to showing our gratitude and respect to the 106,000 veterans living in Nebraska. Their courageous service should inspire us to help our community and country however we can. Working together, we can ensure that we fulfill our promises to those who have put their lives at risk to defend us.