Tax Reform Key Issue in 103rd Legislative Session - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Tax Reform Key Issue in 103rd Legislative Session

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A major focus of this legislative session – taxes.

But, the legislature's Tax Modernization Committee recommends only minor changes.

"I ended up feeling that we weren't that much off base in the tax code that we currently have," said Senator Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids. She is on the committee, along with chair Senator Galen Hadley.

"We have consistently stayed within our budget," said the senator from Kearney. "I have said so often that if you want to cut taxes you got to tell us what services you want to cut because that's what it comes down to."

Two members of the Tax Modernization Committee didn't sign off on the recommendation. Senators Beau McCoy and Charlie Janssen each introduced their own tax plans days before the start of session.

"You actually ingest $85 million in additional funds in the Property Tax Relief Fund, which really is going to make a big different to Nebraskans," said McCoy, of Omaha. "Farmers and ranchers, border to border, across Nebraska really deserve property tax relief in order to stay competitive with our surrounding states."

"Lowering ag valuations down, injecting more money into the Property Relief Tax Fund and lowering the income tax brackets percentage wise and bracketing them up over the years," said Janssen, of Fremont.

But, many senators aren't willing to formally throw their support behind a tax plan just yet.

"My question first and foremost is going to be, if we're going to do something about taxes, how are we going to pay for it long term? Everybody wants tax cuts, but nobody wants to lose whatever tax exemptions they may have," said Senator Mike Gloor, of Grand Island.

One senator said the cuts should come to education.

"K-12 education relies too heavily on property tax. Property tax pays too much of that. It's got to be scaled back," said Senator Tom Carlson, of Holdrege.

Senator Annette Dubas, of Fullerton, also has a bill dealing with tax exemptions for farm machinery repairs.

Senators have 60 days to tackle this issue and many more. They list Medicaid expansion and prison reform as other key issues.


Senator Charlie Janssen's Tax Plan:

Senator Beau McCoy's Tax Plan:

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