Gov. Dave Heineman failed to get his proposal to do away with the state income tax through the legislature last year.
The governor isn’t real pleased with the results of the alternative proposed by the legislature.
Heineman has been disappointed by the report filed by the Tax Modernization Committee, a committee formed to study the state tax system after the legislature backed away from the governor’s bold proposal.
“I’d say our goal ought to be a balance of property tax relief and income tax relief,” Heineman tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “The Tax Modernization Committee; what disappoints me is they traveled all over the state, heard from hundreds of Nebraskans who said taxes are too high and they’re now saying they need more time to study it. They’ve had a whole year.”
Heineman says he will work with several groups to push for tax cuts in the upcoming legislative session in light of a committee report that makes no specific recommendations.
“I’m a little mystified, so to speak, by what the Tax Modernization Committee did, because there’s no doubt taxes are too high in this state,”
The Unicameral created the Tax Modernization Committee last session after lawmakers backed away from the governor’s bold proposal to eliminate the state income tax in exchange for the elimination of about half the sales tax exemptions the state grants. After meeting in the interim, the committee filed a report and left it up to individual senators to propose tax reform next year.
Heineman expects senators to take up that challenge, especially those running for his job.
“I think there will be a bill,” Heineman says. “I can’t imagine anybody who is running for governor isn’t for lower taxes to help our state, to create more jobs, to spur our economy, to create a better job-creation environment in this state.”
Six Republicans have announced their candidacy for the job Heineman has to vacate due to term limits. Three are state senators: Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha, Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, and Sen. Tom Carlson of Holdrege.
Heineman says he’s eager to hear proposals in the upcoming legislative session on how to lower property taxes.
“We’ll look at some ideas like that, but there should be no illusions the real key to property tax relief is local governments have got to control their spending. Control the growth. Slow down the growth of spending.”
Kevin Thomas, KLIN, contributed to this story.