Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Announces Support of Income Tax Exemption for Active Military Personnel

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, January 30, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Governor also announces plans for enhanced veterans’ benefits

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher visited Hopkinsville today to announce his support for the complete exemption of active duty and reserve military pay from Kentucky income tax.

The income tax exemption, for both federal and state military pay, would result in an average tax savings of $954 for each of the state’s 10,684 active duty military members.  

Kentucky’s 12,725 reservists and Kentucky National Guard personnel called to active duty would also benefit from the exemption with an average tax savings of $458 for each member of a reserve military component.  

“These proposals are our way to remember our debt to all who currently wear and those who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces and the Kentucky National Guard,” said Governor Fletcher.  “As a veteran and as Commander in Chief of the Kentucky National Guard, it is my duty to do everything I can to help you — the Commonwealth’s new veterans.”

The exemption would be effective on January 1, 2008. The exemption would have no fiscal impact in FY07 and would result in a tax expenditure of $8.6 million in FY08.

Governor Fletcher also announced his support for several veterans’ initiatives.  They are:

Bonding the $6 million expansion of the Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hopkins County. In 2006, the Kentucky General Assembly authorized construction of a 40-bed wing to the West Kentucky Veterans Center.  The budget appropriated state bond funds of $1,757,000 to be used to match federal funds which may be delayed.  Governor Fletcher’s proposal would provide $4,249,000 in additional bond funding so that the facility can be constructed immediately, with the understanding that the federal funds will be received after the construction is concluded. The facility will accommodate the region’s existing waiting list for veterans.

$2.5 million for individual loans to Kentucky veterans up to $10,000. During the last legislative session, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted HB 314 to establish a veterans’ personal loan program trust fund within the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA). The bill authorized KDVA to lend up to $10,000 to qualified veterans, a deceased veterans’ unremarried spouse or the qualified child of a veteran. The legislature, however, appropriated no funds to this program. Governor Fletcher proposes funding this program with $2.5 million.

Establishment of a veteran’s advocate within the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs to assist veterans through the state government application and interview process. Governor Fletcher’s proposal includes $61,100 to fund a staff position to assist the Personnel Cabinet in assuring and facilitating compliance with the state merit system’s veterans’ preference requirements.

Establish a conservator program within the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs to help disabled Kentucky veterans who receive benefits but are not able to manage their financial affairs. 

“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the departures of our troops, as well as the news coverage of the sacrifices made on the battlefield and at home, have made the point ever so poignantly that our soldiers and their families deserve our respect, our support and our commitment,” said Sen. Elizabeth Tori (R-Radcliff). “These initiatives help show our faith and belief in the men and women of the Armed Forces.”

“The proposed initiatives dealing with veterans issues are just a small token of appreciation for the brave men and women who serve our country and protect our freedom,” said Rep. Charles Siler (R-Williamsburg). “As a former member of the United States Armed Forces I am proud to see our Commonwealth honor the sacrifices they make.”

“When the call was made to step forward and serve our country, these men and women answered unselfishly, and I'm so pleased to see initiatives to improve services for our veterans,” said Rep. Eddie Ballard (D-Madisonville).

“A Department of Veterans’ Affairs representative in the Personnel Cabinet and passage of meaningful veterans preference legislation will insure that Kentucky’s military service members get the deserved consideration for merit system employment,” said Rep. Mike Cherry (D-Princeton). “These actions are another method of Kentucky saying thanks to its service men and women and recognizing their sacrifice for our country.”