Tax Modernization Committee Won't Propose Major Overhaul

By: Megan Johnson Email
By: Megan Johnson Email
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A legislative committee tasked with looking at Nebraska taxes and how to possibly reform them says they won't be making major overhaul suggestions when the Legislature meets in January.

State Senator Galen Hadley says public hearings the Tax Modernization Committee held around the state gave them lots of feedback about property, income, and sales tax problems, but few solutions.

"We've heard almost nothing about people concerned about where we're spending the money - we've had no one come in and say we are spending way too much money on this area or that area," says Hadley, who serves as the committee chair and chair of the Revenue Committee.

Governor Dave Heineman has called the state's tax system outdated, and wanted the committee to have suggestions for the 2014 session. A spokesperson for Heineman says he is not commenting on the lack of proposals from the committee yet.

"The Syracuse Study, which was one of the last [tax] studies, took two years and it had a completely paid staff for two years," says Hadley. "It took them two years and then they put some proposals that took them up to 10 years to get done."

Senator Mike Gloor, who wasn't on the Tax Modernization Committee, says he's waiting for their final report to come out later this month before he'll say what needs to happen to Nebraska's tax system. But he thinks more study is a good thing.

"To continue it into the second year as we're doing with discussions on education funding and water policy and where we want the healthcare system to be seems to make sense to me," says Gloor.

"We'll probably have meetings after the next session and we'll figure out what we're going to do and how we're going to do it," says Hadley.

Hadley says bills that would make smaller changes to areas like Social Security income are still likely this session.

"The one thing we didn't hear is the system is so broke that we have to do something right away and have to do something drastically," he says.

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