MURRELLS INLET, S.C. - Campaigning in South Carolina, with its deep roots in the American military, Texas Gov. Rick Perry proposed a five-year holiday from income taxes for wounded veterans as part of his bid for conservative support in the state's primary on Saturday.
"If you have been wounded, if the [Defense Department] 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," Perry told a crowd of about 60 people at a Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall here. "That's sending the message. That's sending [a] message that will last longer than a parade, that will last longer than a proclamation on the war, than a pat on the back.… 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."
The Wounded Warrior Project, an organization dedicated to supporting injured veterans, estimates that about 32,000 troops were wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom and nearly 10,000 in Operation Enduring Freedom, the war in Afghanistan.
Perry often talks about the need to improve support for veterans in the United States, especially as he has increasingly focused on South Carolina, where 11 percent of the population is made up of military veterans. He points to initiatives he ushered through in Texas, including a 2009 law that exempts disabled veterans from paying property taxes.