Tax Reform Key Issue in 103rd Legislative Session


Amajor focus of this legislative session – taxes.

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

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

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

Twomembers of the Tax Modernization Committee didn't sign off on therecommendation. Senators Beau McCoy and Charlie Janssen each introduced theirown tax plans days before the start of session.

"Youactually ingest $85 million in additional funds in the Property Tax ReliefFund, which really is going to make a big different to Nebraskans," said McCoy,of Omaha. "Farmers and ranchers, border to border, across Nebraska reallydeserve property tax relief in order to stay competitive with our surroundingstates."

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

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

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

Onesenator said the cuts should come to education.

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

SenatorAnnette Dubas, of Fullerton, also has a bill dealing with tax exemptions forfarm machinery repairs.

Senatorshave 60 days to tackle this issue and many more. They list Medicaid expansionand prison reform as other key issues.

SenatorCharlie Janssen's Tax Plan:

SenatorBeau McCoy's Tax Plan: