Farm Bureau Wary of Proposed Tax Reform

By: Kim Eiten Email
By: Kim Eiten Email

"You can't have your cake and your ice cream both here. You have to have a better tax system." - Governor Heineman

Governor Dave Heineman's tax reform proposals could have Nebraskans saving on income tax but spending on sales tax.

For farmers and ranchers, it's a problem they said could cost them cash.

"If things negatively affect agriculture, they negatively affect the entire state of Nebraska," Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said.

He said, with the Governor's tax plan on the table, it could happen and would hurt the bottom line for farmers and ranchers.

"The increase that we would pay in this are significantly higher than what farm and ranch families would gain with our present calculations," Nelson said.

The man behind the push for change is opening to doing just that. Governor Dave Heineman said he'll negotiate.

"No governor has been more supportive of agriculture than I have," Heineman said. "I want to work with our farmers and ranchers. But, I do want them to think. It's no longer the 1960's when we developed this tax code."

It's a conversation both sides want to have.

In the midst of a devastating drought, the stakes are high.

"The prospects are likely that we will have lower incomes, so the advantage of having no income tax for farmers and ranchers would be minimal as to paying significantly higher sales tax," Nelson said.

"You can't have your cake and your ice cream both here. You have to have a better tax system," Heineman said. "We want to find a Nebraska common sense solution. So, I'm asking agriculture: tell me what you're for. Let's have the conversation."


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