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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 099-96
February 26, 1996

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, WILLIAM J. PERRY, STATEMENT ON PROPOSED TAX RELIEF BILL FOR PERSONNEL IN THE FORMER REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA

"Secretary (of the Treasury Robert E.) Rubin and I are very pleased to announce a bill allowing significant and favorable tax treatment for Department of Defense personnel serving in and around the former Republic of Yugoslavia. President Clinton will send the legislation to Congress this week. This proposal demonstrates the Clinton Administration's deep appreciation for the hardships endured by the men and women who are enforcing the Dayton Peace Agreement."

"When we first deployed our men and women to the area of operation, we wanted to ensure that they and their families were well supported. Our people received the best training while they were preparing to deploy. They also receive additional pay and allowances, and free mailing privileges. We paid special attention to family members back home by setting up family readiness briefings and support groups and implemented assistance groups to work with children of deployed service members. We put into place a robust system of acute health care in the field and ensured there would seamless health care for those who remain at our overseas bases. This proposal is one more way the Administration is showing its commitment to the well being of our troops serving in Joint Endeavor.

"There are many tangible benefits to this proposal. Service members in the `Joint Endeavor Area of Operations', about 25,000 of them, would obtain the same kind of tax treatment as our service members did in Operation Desert Storm. These individuals would receive all of the combat zone tax benefits of the Internal Revenue Code, such as an exclusion of military pay for federal income tax purposes, for the period of time designated by the Executive Order. Other tax benefits would also be available for these individuals, as well as DoD civilian personnel and deployed service members supporting the mission outside of imminent danger pay areas. These benefits include additional time to file returns upon return from the operation, and waivers of interest and penalties on amounts owed."

"This bill proposes the foundation for recognition of service in an arduous, dangerous environment. I applaud Secretary Rubin for this initiative, and hope that these important changes are enacted."

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