There have been reports on the news regarding LB 79, which is currently being circulated by paid, out-of-state people, who have no interest in the bill, other than to make money, to get LB 79 on the November 2024 ballot in Nebraska.
This is a regressive tax that would be assessed regardless of income. Low- and high- income earners would pay the same tax. LB 79 would eliminate property taxes, corporate taxes, state and local taxes, state income taxes and inheritance taxes. Sound good, right?
Not for low- and middle-income earners. The Consumption Tax would be levied on everything purchased NEW. Used is not included. Proponents say the tax will be around 7.5%. Opponents who have read the study by Open Sky Policy Institute show that the tax would have to be raised eventually to around 22.1% in order to make up the shortfall.
So, imagine paying 22.1% on new vehicles, appliances, furniture, clothes, everything that we buy new and consumer. Mail orders such as merchandise from Amazon would be charging the 22.1% tax. People will be going across state lines. Colorado tax is 2.9%. Even if a car is purchased in Colorado, this state will tax it to be registered in Nebraska. Easterners will go to Iowa.
This tax would be regulated by a Review Board, appointed in Lincoln, not voted in by the people. Once the tax is implemented, if it passes, it can be raised to any level by this board, with no vote by Nebraskans.
All tax revenue collected in the state would be sent to Lincoln to the Review Board. They will look at each city and county and school budget. They will determine how much will be returned. These entities will no longer control their budgets, but must apply to the Review Board.
Small business will suffer. Many will close. Young people will realize it’s to expensive to live in Nebraska. Tourists and travelers will pass us by. Why would we trust a board of people to decide what our communities will need?
Those benefiting from the Consumption Tax would be farmers, ranchers, and corporations. There is no explanation in this bill that would tell us who and what are exempted. Implements, such as combines and million-dollar tractors could be exempted, which would be an even bigger benefit to them and put the tax burden on low- and middle-income families.
Nebraska will also be the only state in the nation to levy this Consumption Tax. The actual bill LB 79 is 80 pages. Six senators who support it are counting on the fact that no one will read it or understand it. We have.
–Jan Knight, North Platte
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