A newly-elected state legislator says he’ll introduce a bill to bring property tax relief along with a “slight” sales tax increase.
Senator Tom Briese, of Boone, says it was the top issue he heard about during the campaign.
“I have generally supported the efforts undertaken the last few years by the legislature to address property tax issues, but a lot of those issues tend to be working around the edges,” Briese says. “Our taxpayers are demanding something more meaningful than that.”
Briese says governments are becoming too dependent on property taxes as a revenue source.
“We collect nearly two-and-a-half times more property taxes in Nebraska than we do state sales taxes,” Briese says. “I am going to propose a slight increase in the sales tax rate and an expansion of the sales tax base and use that revenue to effectuate property tax relief.”
Briese says state and local governments have to reel in their budgets.
“We always need to be searching for innovations and efficiencies to control spending but as we search for those innovations and efficiencies, the property taxpayers are suffering,” Briese says. “That’s why this tax shift I am proposing is essential, but at the same time, we have to look for ways to control spending at the local level.”
Lawmakers also have to deal with a $900-million shortfall in the two-year budget as they attempt to balance the budget. The 90-day session opened Wednesday.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton