HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill into law Friday that makes military retirement pay 100% exempt from state income tax.

The Workforce Enhancement and Military Recognition Act (H. 3247) starts with tax years after 2021 and there is no earned-income cap.

The Secretary for the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Will Grimsley, said the bill will make the state even more military friendly. Grimsley also served 33 years in the Army.

“Now we’re showing a tangible opportunity to really capture that and provide a service back to those of us — the 62,000 of us or so of our 400,000 veterans — who served up to retirement eligibility,” he said.

He said it is important to remember the bill is about more than saving money.

“Just remember that while we’re talking about tax exemption and a little bit of cash in the pocket — this is really about people and what people can give back to the state as part of this notion of being part of the workforce, part of the fabric of society and everything that we bring to continue to grow as individuals and also continue the great growth trajectory that we’re on across South Carolina,” Grimsley said.

He said keeping military personnel and their families in the state and encouraging others to come here is important because they offer a great set of skills.

“People that are highly trained, educated, motivated, fit, disciplined, know how to get up in the morning and know how to take charge and know how to be in charge,” Grimsley said. “By definition we are a very diverse group of people demographically. We know how to build teams from very diverse groups of people that we may never have met before to really solve complex problems and challenging circumstances — and that’s who we are as a military.”

He said it also brings economic benefits.

“That money is gonna be put to good use,” he said. “It’s going to go to education, it’s going to go to community service, it’s going to go to spend in the economy of South Carolina.”

The Executive Director for the Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center, Scott Dulebohn, said it is great to live in a state where veterans are taken care of. Dulebohn is an Air Force veteran.

“It’s fabulous to see the government working on taking care of its soldiers and veterans that went to war and fought for this country and everything it stands for,” Dulebohn said. “Just the money that it saves them compensates for what’s happening with today and it might not be a whole lot but its something that means a lot to the veterans and they’re thankful for it.”

According to Dulebohn, there are about 31,000 people in Horry County who will benefit from this when they retire.

“About one in 10 citizens that live in Horry County are veterans and it’s because of things like [this bill],” he said.

McMaster plans to hold a ceremonial bill signing. A date and time have not been announced.