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March 3, 2011


Legislature considering giving cities more sales tax leeway?

by Deena Winter

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.

We’ll see.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Paul Mike Grieger
    Mar 3 2011

    @ 7amish this morning on KFAB radio the Governor Said NO,NO and No on the above issue.

  2. Jane H Kinsey
    Mar 3 2011

    It would be easier for Beutler to raise the property taxes to fill the gap, but he would going back on his word. On the other hand, it is a risk to allow citizens to vote regarding an increased sales tax which they are likely to reject. It is beginning to look as though Beutler is getting himself into a pickle about the budget problems. I certainly hope so.

  3. Joe's Bro
    Mar 3 2011

    Be careful on the sales tax thing.

    Number 1… Sales taxes…are regressive. Meaning less affluent(poor)folks pay more of their income percentage wise than more affluent (rich) folks.

    Number 2…. is every prediction is that the cost of food, gas and other durable goods is going to increase tremendously this year. What does that mean? Instead of a 1/2% increase in the sales tax the net equivalent tax increase will be 1%.

    Now, let’s go back to Number 1. For poor folks, the net loss to them, on top of bent over for the increase in cost of food, clothing, gas and a pack of cigarettes, we are going to increase or compound their problems by increasing the sales tax.

    You say no tax on food?? Not yet, and it depends.

    Say no to increase in taxes.

    Say yes to adding property taxes to nonprofits
    Say yes to ending state job incentives for big business
    Say yes to ending TIF, Blighted property, JPA’s
    Say yes to Casino gambling on any stream that runs year round, or any body of water over 10 acres.

  4. Joe' Bro
    Mar 8 2011

    I forgot to mention. Lincoln already increased its sales tax take through the JPA “Occupation Tax”
    The sales tax is added only after the “Occupation Tax” calculation. Thus an increase of sales tax take by city.


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