O'Malley policy toward veterans, not Iraq trip, is the problem

March 02, 2010

Instead of discussing whether Gov. Martin O'Malley should or should have not gone to Iraq ("Lt. Gov. Brown defends O'Malley's trip to Iraq," Mar. 2), let's talk about what he has done for veterans, specifically retired veterans.

While governor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. proposed a phased-in approach that would exempt military retirement pay from the state income tax (fully paid for in the budget). Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Bush supported this idea. In the end, only $5,000 of military retirement pay was exempted.

Upon being elected, Governor O'Malley chose not to continue expand funding. Four years later only $5,000 is exempt. This year legislators have introduced House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1 to increase the exemption from $5,000 to $10,000. I urge all veterans' to contact their senators and delegates to co-sponsor these bills and further urge you to contact Senate President Miller and Speaker Bush for their support in adopting HB 1 and SB 1.

Mark H. Olanoff, Reisterstown

The writer is a retired command chief master sergeant in the Air Force.

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