In February, I met with Command Sergeant Major Steve Curtis, a retired member of the Maine Army National Guard who lives in Stacyville. Steve, a born-and-raised Mainer who served for more than 33 years in the military, including two deployments in the Iraq War and service in the 1983 invasion of Grenada, brought to my attention a rather unbelievable inconsistency in the negative way our National Guardsmen and Reservists are treated by the U.S. tax code.
Steve pointed out that while federal employees are granted tax deductions for their travel if their commute is 50 miles or more, National Guard members need to travel more than 100 miles for training before they are granted the same benefits.
“Traditional National Guard members who are lower enlisted and who travel long distances for weekend drills hardly make enough to cover their expenses,” Steve told me.
Each month, our men and women in the National Guard and reservists in the Armed Forces leave their families and the comforts of their homes to report for duty. This involves driving beyond normal commuting distances, often exceeding their monthly drill pay expenses and requiring them to pay out of pocket.
These brave men and women train so that they can be ready at a moment’s notice to risk their lives for our freedom. We cannot expect them to give up time with their friends and family so they are prepared for deployment, yet not provide them with the same tax deductions we offer federal employees. That’s why, with the help of Steve, I introduced a bill to provide these honorable individuals with the fair tax treatment they deserve.
The Fair Treatment for Our National Guard and Reservists Act will ensure our National Guard members and reservists are afforded the same tax treatment for their travel expenses as federal employees. This bill amends the tax code, making deductions available when National Guard Members are required to travel 50 miles or more for training. This legislation will help give back to our local heroes who have given their time and service to help protect our Great Nation.
“Passing this bill will be a tremendous help financially for our dedicated men and women who so selflessly defend our State and Country,” Steve said to me.
In Congress, I will continue to support our military members and help ensure that our National Guard men and women receive the benefits and support they have earned and deserve.
“I want to thank Congressman Poliquin for his passion, commitment and desire to help our members of the military,” said CSM Curtis. “His promptness in introducing this bill is commendable! What also amazed me is that he gave me a personal call giving me an update. How many representatives take the time to do that today?!”