Legislature considering giving cities more sales tax leeway?
I’m hearing the state Legislature is quietly considering giving cities more revenue options in the form of sales taxes.
Although they’re not exactly advertising it, lawmakers are reportedly considering allowing Nebraska cities to increase their local option sales tax levies by another half-cent — giving them more money to help balance budgets that will be even more strained if the state ends or drastically cuts state aid, which is designed to give cities property tax relief.
Of course, voters in each city would have to approve any increase in the sales tax levy. In Lincoln, a half-cent increase in the sales tax would amount to about $18 million a year. But would Gov. Dave Heineman sign such a bill? It seems like a savvy way for him to cut aid to cities and then leave it in local politicians’ hands to decide whether to take the political risk of promoting a tax increase.