Supporters of tax cut proposals have found the path to success difficult this legislative session.
As in past legislative sessions, many senators worry about the future impact of cutting taxes now. Some even blame past tax cuts on the current fiscal situation in which the governor and the legislature are moving to cut spending in line with a drop in state tax revenue.
Add one more factor to the mix. There is a split on whether to support property tax relief or a cut to the state income tax.
Gov. Pete Ricketts advocates both.
Ricketts is trying to find the right combination of tax cuts to sell to the legislature; both property and income.
“I think it’s unlikely we will be able to get the votes to be able to pass property tax relief unless we also have income tax relief to be able to build that coalition that gets us to 33 votes,” Ricketts tells reporters, anticipating the need for enough support to overcome a filibuster.
The governor has been working with Revenue Committee chair, Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion, who says the key to property tax reduction is getting to the underlying cause: school funding.
“So, do we want to just shift it? Do we want to say let the state take on more of that burden?” Smith asks in an interview with Nebraska Radio Network. “Fine, let’s have that discussion, but let’s not talk about increasing one person’s taxes to offset another person’s.”
Smith refers to one proposal floated at the Capitol that would raise the sales tax to pay for a cut in property taxes.
Is there enough time to craft a package this session?
“Of course there is,” Smith responds. “It depends on whether people want to.”
Smith adds, though, that if there is a campaign of deceit and confusion, then the answer would be no.
Smith refers to the campaign by Reform for Nebraska’s Future, which opposes the two-prong approach. The group wants the Unicameral to focus solely on property tax relief. It has recently taken that message to the air, sponsoring a series of radio ads to run during the legislative session.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]