MURRELLS INLET, S.C. - Texas Gov. Rick Perry today proposed a five-year personal income-tax exemption for U.S. soldiers wounded while serving their country.
"I want to offer up for this country [to] consider a wounded-warrior tax exemption," Perry told a crowd of about 50 people at a VFW hall here this morning, the majority of whom were veterans. "If you have been wounded, if the DOD has designated you as an individual who has been wounded while you have been on service to the United States, you get a five-year exemption from paying any personal income tax in this country.
"That's sending the message that will last longer than a parade, that will last longer than a proclamation on the war, than a pat on the back. All of those are important, but to be able to clearly say to help financially to help to get their lives back.
"These post-9/11 veterans certified by the Department of Defense deserve that type of an exemption," Perry continued. "If you sacrificed that much for your country, the least this country can do is give you that type of support when you come back."
As Texas governor in 2009, Perry passed a law providing property-tax relief to Texas veterans who are 100 percent disabled, ensuring that they do not have to pay any property taxes. The state of Texas has no personal income tax. Perry also signed a 2009 Texas law that provides in-state tuition rates to veterans, who are eligible for federal education benefits, and their spouses and children.
Mike Thornton, a Navy Seal Medal of Honor recipient who endorsed the Texas governor, joined Perry, who served in the Air Force for nearly five years, on the trail today.
As he shook hands with voters after the event, Perry was approached by a man who asked his thoughts on the Small Business Administration, an agency Perry suggested he might just "do away with."
"President Obama is now trying to take the Small Business Administration, the Commerce Department and make one super-department. The Small Business Administration. … What are your plans for that?" the man asked.
"I'd just do away with them. I mean the idea that you consolidate some agencies. And like the EPA, I would substantially reduce the size of it. I'd let it be a repository of best practices. I'd let it work out differences between states if there's issues like, you know, power lines or what have you. Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, you could probably consolidate those two together. But Department of Education, just do away with it," Perry said.
"He [Obama] wants to make this a cabinet position, another cabinet position," the man said of the SBA.
"Best thing we can do is eliminate him from the presidency," Perry said to laughter.