I’m a former 11-year Tracy resident who voted with his feet after the November election in California. My military pension was taxed at the state’s former maximum rate of 10.3 percent, and the November election made the maximum rate increase of 13.3 percent retroactive to Jan. 1.
After 27 years of uniformed service and 16 more as a defense contractor, this was a slap in the face to me and my family — our sacrifices over the years have been enormous, and we took immediate action to save my future retirement.
We left dear friends and family
and moved to the state of New Hampshire, which has no state income tax and no state sales tax. At the age of 65.5, I suffered a heart attack coming out of a back operation (after moving), and a resulting triple bypass left me pondering life and possible medical retirement.
My employer held my position and even offered me an overseas assignment upon my recovery. So I’m writing you today from Camp Walker, Daegu, in South Korea, after a 54-day recovery from that triple-bypass.
Leaving the United States with my wife to work in a war zone is yet one more commitment I’ve made to the safety of the United States and the magnificent men and women in uniform I’ve once served with — and I now have nothing but pride and admiration for helping train to save their lives.
New Hampshire — my official state of residence — provides for its citizens, educates its children, clears snow and paves its roads to a standard unknown in California. Many may wonder how it does this. Its 430 legislators receive a salary of $100 a year and must work for a living. Other than per diem and expenses, the only perk is allowing them to speed to the state capital to cast votes. My concealed-carry handgun permit is good for four years (but not overseas) and cost me $10.
Working within tactical missile range of North Korea is not recommended employment for the faint-hearted, but my wife and I voted to do the greater good. The Korean people are gracious to a fault — there is no safer feeling than walking the streets of Daegu, day or night. I’m so sad I was unable to surround myself with my dear Tracy friends in retirement. I will miss them dearly.