- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Legislature has approved a bill that cuts income taxes for military retirees who served 20 years in uniform.

The House’s 96-0 vote Thursday sent the bill to Gov. Nikki Haley.

The benefits would be phased in over five years. By 2020, military retirees younger than 65 could deduct $17,500 of their income. Retirees 65 or older could exempt up to $30,000.

The House’s initial version allowed a complete exemption in three years. But with minutes left in the legislative session, GOP Rep. Murrell Smith encouraged his colleagues to accept the Senate’s changes.

He says it will hopefully entice more working-age military veterans to retire in South Carolina.

Democratic Sen. Gerald Malloy of Darlington had opposed the bill, arguing military retirees already have many benefits the state’s poor do not.

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