Hall County Board Discusses Implications of a County Sales Tax

Hall County officials say that right now it looks like Nebraska's county inheritance tax - a big source of revenue for them - will continue.

"It looks like the inheritance tax is not going to get eliminated, but that doesn't mean it won't next year or the year after," says Supervisor Steve Schuppan.

That has Hall County looking for other sources of funding. One idea the board began discussing during Tuesday's meeting was implementing a county sales tax.

"The need for revenue certainly from county government is an issue," says board chair Pam Lancaster. "The only avenue that we have not pursued is the county sales tax."

Nebraska counties can implement a half, one, or one-and-a-half percent sales tax. However, a county sales tax cannot be placed on top of a city sales tax, so in Hall County's case they wouldn't generate revenue from purchases made in Grand Island or Doniphan which already have sales taxes.

"That sales tax has to be used for public safety and there's a committee or board set up that oversees the use of those monies," says Supervisor Scott Arnold.

Most of the Hall County board was against starting a sales tax. Lancaster says the county is making ends meet, but has roads and bridges in need of repairs.

"Hall County like everybody else does not want an additional tax unless we're backed into a corner where there just are no other options," she says.

A county sales tax has to be approved by voters, so supervisors say they could only put it on a ballot this fall or in two years without having to call a special election.

Right now only one county in the state has a county sales tax and that's Dakota County in northeastern Nebraska.

The Hall County board plans to keep discussing ways of making up the inheritance tax if it were to be eliminated.

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