The EPIC Option Tax Plan would eliminate property, income/inheritance and corporate taxes. It was introduced in the Nebraska Legislature as LB 79 in 2023 by State Sen. Steve Erdman. 

The Epic Option is a proposed total revamp of the Nebraska tax structure that would replace virtually all state and local taxes with a consumption tax on all services and new goods.

Two petitions are being circulated with paid, out-of-state and volunteer circulators. The only source of revenue would be a state/local consumption tax. All monies will be sent to Lincoln and be redistributed back to the local municipalities by an appointed board that will determine how much of the revenue is sent back. 

The board will be in full control of the budgets that were set by the city, county, and other taxing authorities. This would be a major shift from the current revenue system. 

No other state is solely reliant on a consumption tax. Nebraska will be the guinea pig for the rest of the country to see if this experiment will work. Kind of what happened in Kansas with the “Great Kansas Tax Cut Experiment?” 

Tax cuts were based on model legislation published by conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), supported by supply side economist, Arthur Laffer, and anti-tax leader, Grover Norquist.   

Proponents say the starting consumption tax will start at 7.5%-10%. Opponents say the tax rate will be anywhere from 10%-22%.  

This will harm small businesses that would see a higher harmful tax rate that would burden their business and challenge community tax revenues. Shoppers would cross state lines to purchase more expensive items like appliances, furniture, clothing, and other items and services to save money. 

If the petition drive has enough signatures and the Epic/Consumption tax is placed on the November ballot and is passed, this new form of taxation will be placed in the Nebraska Constitution. When this experiment fails like Kansas’s ALEC experiment failed, it will take years to rectify.

Terry Sigler, North Platte

© 2024 The North Platte Bulletin. All rights reserved.