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Gov. Ricketts, Concerned Nebraskans Oppose the Largest Tax Increase in State History

Media Contacts:  

Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970

Eric Maher, 402-471-1974

 

Media Release:

Gov. Ricketts, Concerned Nebraskans Oppose the Largest Tax Increase in State History

Governor Pete Ricketts (right of speaker) with rancher Trent Loos (podium) and other Nebraskans opposed to LB289.

Governor Pete Ricketts (right of speaker) with rancher Trent Loos (podium)

and other Nebraskans opposed to LB289.  Video can be found here.

 

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts gave compelling reasons to reject LB 289, the Revenue Committee’s plan to enact the largest tax increase in state history.  Several concerned Nebraskans joined him to voice their opposition to the tax proposal.  

“The idea that you can tax and spend to get more property tax relief is false.  It has been tried in the past and failed,” said Governor Ricketts.  “We need to focus on budget control, making sure we live within our means just like every Nebraska family does.”

As amended, LB 289 would raise the sales tax rate to a record-high level.  It would also add new sales taxes, of up to 8.25%, on services essential to the well-being of Nebraska’s families.  These include plumbing repairs, work to fix AC units and furnaces, and basic veterinary care.  Additionally, it would raise the excise tax on cigarettes; impose taxes on bottled water, candy, and soda; and hike the real-estate transfer tax.  Worst of all, the bill would drain the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund to pay for increased spending.  This would deprive Nebraskans of $224 million in direct property tax relief.

“Instead of raising the sales tax, hurting those who can least afford it, we should address the underlying issue of our property tax woes—spending,” said Jessica Shelburn of Americans For Prosperity.

“Action should not be confused with progress,” said Trent Loos, a sixth-generation rancher from Litchfield.  “Nobody who really cares about the future of Nebraska thinks we can make a short-term little fix and cure the problem.”

Brad Beam of Lincoln spoke of the adverse effect the bill would have on pet shelters, along with the burden it would place on local governments.  “Nonprofit animal shelters and rescue groups are not exempt from paying sales tax like other nonprofits,” said Beam.  “Imposition of a sales tax will increase costs, resulting in fewer animals being served.  City and county governments will have to pick up the tab to meet community needs.”

“The increased real-estate transfer tax has a negative impact on our entire population but especially those seeking affordable workforce housing,” said Kim Zweiner, a local realtor.

Doug Kriefels—whose family owns Action Heating, Plumbing, & A/C in Lincoln—also testified that the bill would hurt Nebraskans in search of a home.  “A sales tax on home construction, maintenance, and repairs will make it even harder for working-class Nebraskans to achieve and sustain the dream of home ownership,” he said.

A public hearing was scheduled for 4:00 pm at the State Capitol to allow Nebraskans a chance to discuss the tax plan.

Video from the news conference can be found here.