SACRAMENTO – Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) today introduced legislation that will help California National Guard veterans caught in the bonus repayment fiasco get financial justice from the federal government.
“I’m not going to sit back and see these veterans victimized,” said Senator Gaines. “The state needs to step up and make sure they get every benefit they ever earned and the respect they deserve for fighting for our freedom.”
Senate Bill 14 will refund taxes paid by these veterans during the confusion of the veterans’ bonus repayment scandal. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that more than 10,000 Guard members have been ordered to repay enlistment bonuses they received as a condition for enlisting or reenlisting in the Guard during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when the nation was desperate for combat soldiers to carry out its missions.
These soldiers deployed in combat roles and risked their lives in service to freedom and their fellow Americans. Now, due to incompetence and mismanagement in the enlistment bonus program, the Department of Defense (DoD) is demanding repayment from these soldiers a decade after the fact.
Although the DoD has temporarily put a halt to recovery efforts while the issue is being more fully investigated, some service members have already paid back some or all of their bonuses. Many paid taxes on the bonuses years ago and now, because of a three-year time limit on refiling state taxes, they are unable to get back the taxes they paid on the money they ultimately did not receive.
“I’ll smash every bit of bureaucracy that stands in the way of justice. I want these soldiers to get the money they deserve, and I won’t see them pay taxes on phantom income that is being taken away from them through no fault of their own,” said Senator Gaines.