Sen Hugh Leatherman Blocking a Vote on Military Income Bill

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The powerful Sen. Hugh Leatherman (R-31st District - Florence), as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has personally taken it upon himself to stop House Bill 3112 from even having a hearing or a vote in the South Carolina Senate. A copy of this bill is provided below. Sen. Leatherman's personal involvement with the stoppage of the bill has been confirmed through numerous sources throughout the state. He told one of my sources that the state could not afford not to tax military veteran’s retirement pay, but felt that there was enough money to pay all members of the legislature a substantial pay increase. If Sen. Leatherman would ever bother to read the studies concerning the benefits that come from exempting military retirement pay from state income tax he would quickly learn that the state would have more money to improve the quality of life of our citizens. It would seem to be that while the military serve their country Sen Leatherman is serving himself and his political cohorts. His finance committee has also come out with a recommendation to reduce the amount of money for veteran service officers in the county by 10%. One has to wonder if Sen. Leatherman is anti-military? Time is short to get this bill out of the finance committee and onto the floor of the Senate. Please have each of your members call their own Sen. and then call Sen. Leatherman's office at the following numbers or at his home.

Florence office: 1-843-662-0388
Columbia office: 1-803-212-6640
Home: 1-843-667-1152

Kind regards,

David

David B. Lobb
COL (ret) USA
VP for Legislative Affairs
SC MOAA Council
Cell: 1-803-270-8690
House 3112

A BILL
TO AMEND SECTION 12-6-1140, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO DEDUCTIONS FROM SOUTH CAROLINA TAXABLE INCOME OF INDIVIDUALS FOR PURPOSES OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA INCOME TAX ACT, SO AS TO ALLOW THE DEDUCTION OF RETIREMENT BENEFITS ATTRIBUTABLE TO SERVICE ON ACTIVE DUTY IN THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES; AND TO AMEND SECTION 12-6-1170, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE RETIREMENT INCOME DEDUCTION, SO AS TO CONFORM THIS DEDUCTION TO THE MILITARY RETIREMENT DEDUCTION ALLOWED BY THIS ACT.
Amend Title To Conform
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. This act may be cited as the "South Carolina Giving Back to Our Veterans Act".
SECTION 2. Section 12-6-1140 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding a new item at the end to read:
"(12) for taxable years beginning after 2015, military retirement benefits attributable to service on active duty in the armed forces of the United States."
SECTION 3. Section 12-6-1170(A)(2) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"(2) The term 'retirement income', as used in this subsection, means the total of all otherwise taxable income not subject to a penalty for premature distribution received by the taxpayer or the taxpayer's surviving spouse in a taxable year from qualified retirement plans which include those plans defined in Internal Revenue Code Sections 401, 403, 408, and 457, and all public employee retirement plans of the federal, state, and local governments, including military retirement. After taxable year 2015, military retirement is not included as retirement income for purposes of the deduction allowed by this section."
SECTION 4. In addition to amounts allowed as a deduction pursuant to Section 12-6-1170 of the 1976 Code, there is allowed as a deduction from South Carolina taxable income of individuals for purposes of the South Carolina Income Tax Act a portion of otherwise taxable military retirement benefits attributable to service on active duty in the armed forces of the United States according to the following schedule:
Taxable Year Deduction Percentage
2014 33.33 percent
2015 66.67 percent.
SECTION 5. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor and applies for taxable years beginning after 2013.

South Carolina Senators Call for Investigation into VA Deaths and Other Reported Questionable Actvity

Washington –Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) today called on the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation to launch an immediate, independent investigation of mismanagement, incompetence and corruption at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In a letter sent to Subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and Subcommittee Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Scott urged swift action from the subcommittee, which is “tasked with studying and investigating the compliance or noncompliance with rules, regulations and laws, investigating all aspects of crime and lawlessness within the United States which have an impact upon or affect the national health, welfare and safety.”

The letter states, “Recent reports have alleged VA employees created “secret” waiting lists, shredded official documents and engaged in other nefarious activities in order to cover-up backlogs of veterans’ claims…If true, these despicable acts are at the very least improper expenditures of government funds, and at worst may have contributed to the deterioration in health or even death of some of our brave veterans. This potential appalling behavior towards our veterans, mismanagement of government funds, and breach of public trust certainly warrants your committee’s full attention.”

Text of the Letter

May 22, 2014
Honorable Carl Levin
Chairman
Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs
Permanent Committee on Investigations
340 Dirkson Senate Office Building  
The Honorable John McCain
Ranking Member
Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs
Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation
340 Disrksen Senate Office Building
Dear Chairman and Ranking Member:
We are writing to request an immediate investigation into reported mismanagement, incompetence, and corruption within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care centers throughout the country.  Specifically, the investigation should focus on how appropriated funds for patient care and record management were spent in light of allegations of concerted efforts to present inaccurate and misleading information about patient wait times in order to ensure VA employees qualified for personal bonuses.
Recent reports have alleged VA employees created “secret” waiting lists, shredded official documents and engaged in other nefarious activities in order to cover-up backlogs of veterans’ claims.  Media reports have suggested that these “secret lists” were maintained in some cases to garner better data for year-end performance bonuses.  If true, these despicable acts are at the very least improper expenditures of government funds, and at worst may have contributed to the deterioration in health or even death of some of our brave veterans. This potential appalling behavior towards our veterans, mismanagement of government funds, and breach of public trust certainly warrants your committee’s full attention.
Given even the slightest hint of a possible organized effort to fabricate information critical to the care of our nation’s veterans, an immediate investigation should be conducted to determine if the health care of our veterans is being put at risk. We request your committee join the effort to thoroughly investigate and expose the facts surrounding this situation.
The federal government’s commitment to honor our nation’s veterans and provide them with proper care should never be called into question. Any allegations of such a heinous conspiracy as to engage in personal profiteering at the expense our veterans’ wellbeing by the very public servants entrusted to care for our veterans must be taken seriously and not ignored.
Thank you for your serious consideration of this matter and we look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
Tim Scott (R-SC)
Other Signers
Senator Scott was joined on the letter by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Richard Burr (R-NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Mike Lee (R-UT), John McCain (R-AZ), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD), and Pat Toomey (R-PA)

Copy of the Letter

A PDF copy of the letter can be downloaded from here.

IG Investigation Report for Dorn VA Hospital in Columbia

We all have been watching television and reading in the newspaper about the problems with the VA hospital in Phoenix Arizona and other locations throughout the United States. However some of you may not be aware that there are problems with the VA medical center in Columbia South Carolina. These problems include incompetent senior management, understaffing of operating rooms, cleanliness of surgical instruments, to mention just a few.

A copy of the IG report concerning the many problems at the Dorn medical Center is
here. The IG confirmed a number of the allegations but was not able to investigate numerous allegations due to the absence of files. The bottom line after reading the IG report was that senior management at the medical clinic was not doing their job and that oversight from VA headquarters was lacking.

One of the remedies to a problem identified in the IG report was to close the operating theaters because of a non-surgical environment. As a stopgap measure temporary operating theaters were contracted for the medical center but were only approved for surgical use after the normal operating theaters were brought up to standard. This error in judgment cost the taxpayers a substantial amount of money. I was not able to ascertain the exact amount but I have been reliably informed that the amount is in excess of $1-$2 million.

If after reviewing the IG report you feel that major personnel changes are required to fix the VA in Columbia and DC, please contact your Congressman and Senators and let them know what changes you would like to see.

Kind regards,

David

David B. Lobb
COL (ret) USA
VP for Legislative Affairs

A Good Resource Website

Here is the latest web site that (in this case constructed by the Army) is available as a resource for military families, retirees, veterans, as well as persons, businesses, or community organizations (veterans or otherwise). Great site, user friendly just follow the tabs (links) and a wealth of information will be available to the user on the subject of their selection. Covers a wide gamut of areas and subjects.
Dale
Dale F Ellenburg
COL, USA, RET
President, MOAASC Council of Chapters
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Membership

Membership is open to active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retired, and former commissioned officers and warrant officers of the following uniformed services: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
If you qualify and would like find out more about joining please contact us.

We Are

MOAA is the nation's largest and most influential association of military officers. We are the South Carolina Council working on behalf of the twelve Chapters and their members located in our state.
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Published On - 5/31/14