The U.S. military offers many attractive enlistment bonuses to those who sign up to protect our nation. They can range from $2,000 to $50,000, depending on the need and the specialized skill.

Then Uncle Sam wants his cut.

A Missouri lawmaker wants as much of the bonus to stay in the pockets of the men and women who have signed on the dotted line. The Missouri House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Adam Schnelting, R-St. Charles.

“It’s not going to be one of those shiny objects that gets a whole bunch of new enlistments but it’s going to be one that assists our recruiters to keep on board those who are already in. So yes, I think it will help with the recruiting crisis that our state is experiencing,” he told Missourinet.

Schnelting, an Army Combat Engineer in the National Guard, is proposing to allow any military enlistment and re-enlistment bonuses as a full state tax deduction.

“It’s quite the disincentive,” said Schnelting. “You know, oftentimes what these bonuses are used for, you have a young individual that is enlisting, and they look forward to this bonus very specifically, so that they can either afford their first car in some instances. And in other instances, they can put a down payment on their first home, or maybe they’re going to be paying expenses that are related to child care.”

His bill would cover active duty and reserve members.

“I think a lot of folks in our state really believe that we should take care of those who enlist and who put their their lives on the line and put their families on hold,” said Schnelting.

Current state law already allows members of the Armed Forces to get a state income tax deduction for a percentage of their pay. Schnelting’s bill would simply add enlistment bonuses to that existing law.

Military members would still be responsible for paying federal income taxes on these bonuses.

The bill’s next hoop to jump through is a Senate committee for another look.

For more information about House Bill 1713, click here.

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