Eliminating Inheritance Tax Could Raise Property Taxes


It wasn't a Hollywood blockbuster, but a story of death and taxes on the big screen Friday morning at the Hall County board room.

While Hall County elected leaders watched online, officials in all 93 Nebraska counties were watching the state capitol where lawmakers are again talking about eliminating the inheritance tax.

Hall County gets more than a million dollars a year and county supervisors like Dan Purdy say losing that would hurt.

"We won't be making repairs to the courthouse, we'll probably be changing hours at the administration building, possible a reduction in staff and we'll probably see an increase in property taxes to offset loss in revenue," Purdy said.

Speaking for the governor, spokeswoman Jen Rae Hein said, "Nebraskans and the Governor are opposed to property tax increases; the key is to reduce spending to live within their means like Nebraska taxpayers do with their family budgets."

Many counties have already cut budgets.

Dan Purdy said, "We're down probably 11 people."

Hall County is combining offices and elected officials volunteered to haul old equipment to the scrap yard to save money. Hall County leaders say you need to look no further than the county highway office to see how they're hurting, budget–wise. They're already taken the step of turning paved road into gravel and burning waste oil for heating.

A think tank called the Open Sky Policy Institute says eliminating the inheritance tax would be most painful in central Nebraska.

They say it's not a tax cut, but a shift. Hall County leaders agree.

"$800,000 goes directly to property tax relief," Purdy said.

Lawmakers said Friday they may be willing to take money from taxes paid on cars and trucks and give that to counties instead of schools.

It would improve the state's tax ranking, but some say it's only chasing rainbows.