Legislators defied the governor this afternoon and overturned his veto of the local option sales tax bill.
The Unicameral voted 30-17-2 this afternoon to override Gov. Dave Heineman’s veto of LB 357. The bill would allow cities to take a sales tax increase proposal to a vote of the people. Cities could ask to increase the sales tax by a quarter to half a percent for specific projects.
Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont told colleagues during floor debate that they are not providing cities more local control; they simply are raising taxes on Nebraskans.
“You can spin it any way you want, you are giving a political body another way to tax. When you give a political body another way to tax, they find a way to tax,” Janssen stated. “We have enough taxes. We don’t need more taxes.”
The governor had made much the same argument in his veto letter. He rejected the argument of supporters that it was a local control issue.
But that is exactly the note Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha, the bill sponsor, struck during his open and close on his motion to override. In his close, Ashford reminded colleagues his bill requires cities to take the issue to a vote of the people and to tie any increase to a specific project.
“Just as we restricted occupation taxes with the right to vote, we are restricting the ability to raise sales taxes with the right to vote and, in addition to that, we are insisting upon collaboration,” Ashford stated. “With that, I strongly urge this body to override the veto and to give the people the right to vote on these issues.”
The 30-to-17 vote provided just enough votes for an override.