A couple of farm groups have come out in support of Gov. Dave Heineman’s proposal to eliminate the inheritance tax.
Executive Director Michael Kelsey with Nebraska Cattlemen says he understands the argument that if you eliminate the inheritance tax from the county tax rolls, it could put pressure on counties to increase property taxes.
“If you will, that could be the battle,” Kelsey tells reporters during a conference call with the governor. “We don’t do those things that way in Nebraska. We sit down around the table and we figure out solutions on how to move everyone forward in a win-win situation.”
Still, the proposal made by the governor in the State-of-the-State address would hit the bottom line of Nebraska counties, which collect the taxes. The governor’s office says the state has lost $115 million in the past four years from the elimination of the estate tax and simply made budget cuts to deal with the loss in revenue.
Heineman says the principle debate should focus on how Nebraska governments should tax their citizens.
“Forty-two other states do not have an inheritance tax,” according to Heineman. “That speaks volumes about where Nebraska ought to be and we ought to be the 43rd state without an inheritance tax.”
The president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, Steve Nelson, argues that an increase in property evaluation should make up for any losses in inheritance tax revenue. According to Nelson, property taxes collected by the counties have nearly doubled since 2000.
AUDIO: Gov. Heineman, Nebraska Farm Bureua and Nebraska Cattlemen discuss eliminating inheritance tax [5:35]