September 17, 2014

City leaders rally at Capitol in favor of sales tax option (AUDIO)

Sen. Brad Ashford addresses news media during League of Nebraska Municipalities news conference

Officials from a number of Nebraska cities converged on the Capitol to rally for a local sales tax bill the governor has threatened to veto.

President of the League of Nebraska Municipalities, Dave Boeckner, stated during the news conference that 194 of 530 Nebraska cities have taken advantage of the local option sales tax authorized by the legislature 26 years ago.

“Voters of cities of all sizes across the state, Omaha, Lincoln, Scottsbluff, Fairbury, Mulen, Exeter among others, have authorized their municipalities to have a local option sales tax,” Boeckner stated. “This has enabled those cities and villages to keep down their property taxes.”

Boeckner, a Scottsbluff city councilmember, stated the local sales tax has helped cities improve infrastructure and create economic development.

LB 357 would allow cities to take a quarter to a half cent sales tax increase proposal to local voters for approval. Gov. Dave Heineman has threatened to veto it, calling it a tax increase and an invitation to spend more. Heineman also suggested that cities should take a property tax proposal to the voters.

Vice President of the League of Nebraska Municipalities, West Point Mayor Marlene Johnson, asserted the bill makes a statement; that the cities trust the voters.

“This truly is a way of government by and for the people of the state of Nebraska, because they are the ones who are going to decide if we as the leaders of their communities need to have these funds to support what goes on in our communities,” according to Johnson.

AUDIO: League of Nebraska Municipalities news conference in Capitol rotunda [30 min.]