State Sen. Ben Hueso / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This post originally appeared in the Feb. 21 Sacramento Report. Get the Sacramento Report delivered to your inbox.

Since San Diego is home to a sizable military population, its lawmakers often focus on efforts to help service members and veterans. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that multiple San Diego lawmakers ended up proposing virtually the same idea in separate bills.

Both SB 1007 by San Diego Sen. Ben Hueso, a Democrat, and SB 1071 by Republican Sens. Scott Wilk and Pat Bates and Democratic Sen. Bob Archuleta, would exempt military retirement pay from state income taxes.

Hueso’s bill would exempt all retirement pay beginning Jan. 1, 2021, while the other bill would phase out the income tax in phases: For the first year, beginning Jan. 1, 2021, 50 percent of the pay would be exempt, for the second and third years, 75 percent would be exempt and in the fourth year and beyond 100 percent of military retirement pay would be exempt.

Ronald Ongtoaboc, a spokesman for Bates, said the phased-in approach “would cost the state less tax revenue as opposed to an all-at-once exemption.”

He said the measure was crafted that way to avoid the fate of a similar bill that stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee last year. The two measures introduced this bill “an opportunity for bipartisan cooperation on the issue in the Senate in the weeks ahead,” Ongtoaboc said.

“This occurs often in the Legislature,” said Erin Hickey, a spokeswoman for Hueso. “It’s early on in the process so we have some time to work on this.”

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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