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Gov. Ricketts Urges the Legislature to Ditch Plans to Tax Gas Stations

Gov. Ricketts (left) with Mark Whitehead (right), owner of U-Stop convenience stores.

Gov. Ricketts (left) with Mark Whitehead (right), owner of U-Stop convenience stores.

 

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts joined convenience store representatives to urge the Legislature to abandon its proposed taxes on many items sold in gas stations.  

“Many working families rely on the quick convenience of gas stations to make their lives function–whether it’s grabbing a snack or cigarettes during a work break, dropping off dry cleaning, or grabbing a meal and fueling up on the way to a sporting event,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Today, we’re here at a U-Stop to send a message to the Legislature: No new taxes on gas stations and working families.”

Right now, the Revenue Committee in the Legislature is considering a sales tax on soda, candy, bottled water, and ice as well as a new $1.50-tax per pack of cigarettes.

At the event, the Governor and U-Stop owner Mark Whitehead noted that in many of Nebraska’s communities and rural areas, the local gas station and convenience store is the only place nearby to buy food and fuel.  In places like Omaha, Bellevue, or South Sioux City, gas stations will suffer “border bleed” with these new taxes.  People who currently shop at these convenience stores will cross the border to buy cheaper goods, like cigarettes, in neighboring states.  This will result in store closures leaving Nebraska with fewer convenient options to fuel up and make quick purchases.

In the past few months, the Revenue Committee has been discussing raising a variety of additional taxes.  The Committee is considering increasing the sales tax as much as 18 percent and hiking the real estate transfer tax.  They want to impose new taxes on zoo memberships, pop, candy, bottled water, ice, moving services, storage, pet healthcare, nail care, tattoos, interior design, painting contractors, taxi and limousine services, Uber and other ride sharing services, lawn care, gardening, parking, swimming pool maintenance, dating services, plumbing, and heating and air conditioning contractors—among others.

Instead of increasing sales taxes and imposing new ones, Governor Ricketts recommended that the Legislature consider the following proposals:

  • Increasing the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund by $51 million to bring the fund to $275 million of relief annually. 
  • Establishing a minimum floor of $275 million for the fund to ensure relief is delivered every year. 
  • Limiting the annual increase in property tax requests made by local governments.

In the near future, the Revenue Committee is expected to hold a public hearing on proposed tax increases.  Governor Ricketts encouraged Nebraskans to pay close attention to ongoing developments at the Capitol as Senators unveil their tax plans.

Watch video of the press conference by clicking here.