Some Senators Criticize Tax Relief Plan

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Lincoln, Neb.-- Governor Dave Heineman has near 500 million reasons to help Nebraska taxpayers.

But, handing $500 million back to taxpayers may be too good to be true, according to Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist.

"If we give it all away now," Nordquist said, "it would mean disastrous cuts for health care and education in our state."

Nordquist said using the state's record high cash reserve of $722 million would have several negative effects. It would cut K through 12 education (causing increased property taxes), higher education cuts, tuition increases for middle class families and tax cuts for the wealthy, according to Nordquist.

Sen. Heath Mello also took to Twitter Tuesday night, disagreeing with Heineman's tax relief ideas.

Nordquist also said the state's economy will slow in the next two-to-four years, according to national analysts.

"We have to have a safety net in place," Nordquist said, "so we can keep funding our schools, keep funding our university system [and] keep funding our corrections system."

Nordquist said the cash reserve would be the safety net.

But, other senators say it helped Nebraska when the state cut taxes a few years ago.

We rebuilt the cash reserve faster than we've ever done before," Sen. Mark Christensen, of Imperial, said, "and enlarged it."

Christensen also said tax cuts for the wealthy can be a good thing. To him, a lot of this argument goes back to where lawmakers fall on party lines.

"If somebody gets more money in their pocket," Christensen said, "they tend to go spend it. So, if they spent it, more sales tax comes in. So, it actually moves the economy forward."

But, for Nordquist, the Governor's plan is just plain irresponsible.

"[Lawmakers] are focused on putting together a responsible tax package," Nordquist said, "that is directly focused on the middle class, not just rhetoric for middle class tax relief but then giving the bulk of tax relief cuts away to top earners."

Both Heineman and lawmakers say it's up to the legislature to decide the future of tax relief.