Tax Modernization Committee Makes Recommendations, Some Members - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Tax Modernization Committee Makes Recommendations, Some Members Disagree

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Four state senators have refused to sign a report prepared by the Legislature's Tax Modernization Committee that says no major changes are needed to reform Nebraska's tax system.

Ten lawmakers did sign the report that says Nebraska is comparable to other states across the country. Most committee members agreed that the current tax code generally meets the study's goals, which included fairness, stability and competitiveness.

The six-month study included meetings across the state and close comparisons with surrounding states.

The report says taxes are higher than average in some areas. Property taxes are greater than both the national average and that of most of Nebraska's bordering states. Lawmakers also concluded that income tax brackets have not kept pace with inflation.

The study also found that the state's sales-and-use tax base has been narrowed and expanded over the years, but it's still similar to Nebraska's border states.

State Sen. Charlie Janssen, a member of the committee, said Friday that he does not support the committee's recommendations and will be drafting an alternate plan focused on tax cuts and spending reductions.

Janssen says he plans to finalize the details before the start of the legislative session in January.

Meanwhile, members of Rebuild Nebraska and representatives of several organizations, shared their approval of the committee's recommendations.

"The recommendations made by the Tax Modernization Committee today demonstrate that they recognize Nebraska needs a tax system that protects our middle-class and low-income families while making sure we have a stable revenue source for our state," said Anne Hindery, CEO of Nonprofit Association of the Midlands.

"With its recommendations, the Tax Modernization Committee has shown that it took Nebraskans' concerns regarding property taxes to heart," said Jon Bailey, director of Rural Research and Analysis at the Center for Rural Affairs. "Some of the recommendations stand to provide targeted and sustained property tax assistance while at the same time bolstering Nebraska's schools, roads and communities."

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