State lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase the state sales tax in order to cut property taxes.
The bill’s sponsor, Senator Tom Briese of Boone, says they can’t cut property taxes without making up the difference somewhere else.
“We cut spending, slash-and-burn spending, and may or may not have a K-12 education system left, or we change how we pay for things,” Briese says. “If we’re not willing to change how we pay for things, that doesn’t bode well for the property taxpayers of our state.”
Briese says he would be open to making changes in the bill to avoid hurting the state’s lower-income residents.
“I’m willing to look at other options to try and make folks whole there,” Briese says. “We don’t want Nebraskans, any slice of the population, to suffer on account of this or anything else we do. We’re always open to options to make this proposal better.”
Briese says he would -not- support taking money from the existing property tax credit fund to make up the difference.
“We will have to contend with the wrath of the property taxpayers if we would do that,” he says.
The bill would increase the sales tax from 5.5 to 6.5 percent. It would also provide tax credits to low-income residents and property taxpayers.
The bill went before the Unicameral’s Revenue Committee last week but no action was taken on it.
Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton