Tax reform measure debated before Revenue Committee

A legislative committee took testimony on a bill that supporters say would result in major tax reform, critics are calling it a tax gamble. The hearing before the Legislature's Revenue Committee gathered input on LB 405 that would eliminate state income taxes and $2.4 billion in sales tax exemptions.

The bill's co-sponsor, Omaha Sen. Brad Ashford says now is an opportunity to accomplish significant tax reform....for a tax system that's out of balance.

Gov. Dave Heineman testified that eliminating income taxes would create jobs and keep young Nebraskans in the state. Heineman also said that he hears from individuals who plan to leave Nebraska for a state that doesn't have an income tax. Heineman received support from the veterans of Foreign Wars Wednesday, whose leaders say eliminating taxes on veterans and social security benefits would make it easier for members to make ends meet.

A couple of chambers of commerce say they can't support the tax reform bills. The Lincoln chamber of Commerce and the Greater Omaha Chamber have come out in opposition to LB 405 and LB 406. So have a number of ag groups including the Nebraska Farm Bureau, who say eliminating exemptions for farm machinery and other producer inputs would cripple the industry that is driving Nebraska's economy.

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