Sales Tax Proposal for Nebraska Cities Debated

By: Deborah Tuff Email
By: Deborah Tuff Email
Lawmakers debate a measure that would allow cities to raise its sales tax to 2 % - that

Voters would have to approve the penny sales tax before it could be enacted and used to pay for regional transportation projects. (July 14, 2010 / WRDW-TV)

Click HERE to read a copy of LB 357.

"This bill gives the citizens the right to choose," Bellevue Senator Abbie Cornett said.

And some lawmakers say that choice - is whether or not to raise local sales taxes. That extra money would be used to fund projects.

"...To improve services for their citizens, to keep libraries open to keep pools open to pave roads, but remember this is an option," Cornett added.

Current law caps sales tax increases at 1.5%. A bill pushed by Senator Brad Ashford would change that. Instead, city leaders would have the option of raising sales taxes up to 2%. That's a half a cent increase.

"Remember, this bill is not a blank check. It requires local governments to identify and to justify to the public how the half cent in revenue would be spent," Lincoln Senator Bill Avery said.

But Hastings Senator Dennis Utter is not on board.

"What we need to be doing is looking at ways to reduce taxes - not ways to increase taxes," Utter said.

If passed, any attempt to increase the sales tax to 2% would have to be approved by local taxpayers.

Debate on the issue resumes Tuesday morning.

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