By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
BRAC causing alarm in Georgia
N1501P65011C [Converted].jpg

RINCON — Rep. Bill Hitchens and other lawmakers are worried that Georgia's military installations are vulnerable. 

Hitchens voiced his concerns during Legislative Eggs & Issues 2018 at Effingham College & Career Academy on Dec. 5, saying he expects another round of BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) to take place soon.

"We have so many bases throughout this country and in modern times, with technology, even the military — the leaders at the Pentagon — believe we invest too much money in the bases we have and we need to trim them back. That sounds well and good until they start trimming them back in your area," he said.

During the last BRAC, Georgia lost four bases. It now has eight.

"People didn't think some of them would ever be touched," Hitchens said.

Hitchens visited every base in the state in an effort to learn about the concerns of military personnel. He said Georgia's low education ranking, especially in rural areas where most bases are located, is a leading one.

"They understand that the key to success in our society is a good educational foundation and they don't want to come here and subject their children to a substandard education," Hitchens said. "They've made that known quite readily to us."

The absence of broadband in some areas is another problem, Hitchens said.

Lastly, Hitchens explained that Georgia's tax on military retirement pay makes it less attractive.

"No other state around us does it,," he said. 

Hitchens said several legislative efforts to ease the financial burden on military personnel failed.

"It would cost the state about $70 million a year," Hitchens said.

Hitchens said a top military leader at Kings Bay told him that 250-300 highly trained retired sailors have opted to live in Jacksonville, Fla., rather than return to Georgia to work because they don't want to pay the extra tax.

According to Hitchens, Gov.-elect Brian Kemp is an advocate of exempting military personnel from the tax and is examining ways to make it happen.