A Nebraska state senator wants to put the brakes on an expansion of occupation taxes in the state. Senator Deb Fischer’s bill (LB 745) was heard by the Revenue Committee on Wednesday.
The bill proposes requiring a public vote before implementation of any new occupation tax. Fischer, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Ben Nelson, proposes requiring a specific purpose for an occupation tax, as well as a sunset date.
Fischer’s bill would also require that any changes to existing occupation taxes, be put before a public vote.
Richard Baier, of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, supports Fischer’s measure. He says there’s been an increase in cities using occupation taxes.
Lynn Rex, the Director for the League of Nebraska Municipalities questioned whether local representative government should have to seek a public vote on every major issue. She says occupation taxes help cities handle the costs of doing business
Opponents of Fischer’s bill fear that taking away occupation taxes would lead to some cities increasing property taxes to make up the difference.
Those same cities have faced state aid reductions and have limits on local sales taxes and property tax rates.
Occupation taxes have been authorized in Nebraska, since the late 1800s.
Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice