Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: May 21, 2009
Sen. Steve Russell
Soldiers Relief Bill Closer to Gov.’s Desk
State Sen. Steve Russell’s bill to exempt
Oklahoma soldiers from state income tax on federal pay is one
step closer to becoming law. Senate Bill 881, co-authored by Rep.
Gary Banz, R-Midwest City, was approved on a bipartisan vote of
45 to 0 on Friday. Russell said he was elated that the bill was
so close to the governor’s desk. The tax exemption would
apply to all troops, whether they are National Guard, Reserve
“It’s important because even though we’re the
second highest recruiting state in the country, we lose two out
of three soldiers when they go to other states with more favorable
tax laws,” said Russell, R-Oklahoma City. “For every
10,000 soldiers that we lose in the state of Oklahoma, we also
lose $6 million in just motor vehicle fees alone. When you start
adding up all the revenues lost with Oklahoma soldiers who claim
residency elsewhere, it is a tremendous hit to our economy. If
our troops remained Oklahoma residents, we’ll recoup far
more than the cost of the tax break. Our soldiers have always
loved their home state, just not the tax burden. Now that will
Russell said according to recruitment records, Oklahoma should
have 54,000 soldiers. Instead, according to the Department of
Defense, there are approximately 21,000 Oklahomans in the service.
Russell says the state could persuade more than 30,000 Oklahomans
to reclaim their state residency if his legislation is enacted.
“I would really like to thank Governor Brad Henry, Senate
President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee and House Speaker Chris Benge
for their great cooperation and work in making this happen. It
was a unified effort, and because of their involvement this bill
is moving forward,” said Russell, who also thanked Senate
Appropriations Chairman Mike Johnson for carrying the bill on
the floor and his House co-author, Rep. Banz for his work.
SB 881 now returns to the House for a final vote.
For more information contact:
Sen. Russell - (405) 521-5618