By: Megan Palera
Both sides sounded off as tax reform took center stage at the Nebraska State Capitol Wednesday. It was a packed house as testimony last almost all night.
It's the first time in 50 years the Unicameral is looking at changing the tax code. The governor's plan would eliminate state and corporate income tax, filling that $2.4 billion gap by ending some sales tax exemptions for businesses.
"The state of Nebraska exempts $5 billion, $5 billion in sales tax exemptions," Gov. Dave Heineman said.
In fact, Nebraska exempts more than it taxes. It also has the 35th highest income tax in the country and many argue the state hasn't grown that much in the last 100 years. It's why Senator Brad Ashford of Omaha is a stronger supporter of tax reform.
"There's legitimate interest behind every one of those exemptions. I don't deny that. But we can not let them run this state. We can not let them run this state. We represent the people of this state. There is a promise to the people that we were going to get those taxes down and it has not happened," Ashford said.
Americans for Prosperity also spoke in support of LB 405. They say it would put more than a thousand dollars back in the pockets of the average Nebraska family.
"That is $1,051 families can save for college, pay off credit card bills, pay the mortgage or add to the rainy day fund," Brad Stevens said.
The bill offers up 29 categories to be removed from the sales tax exemption. That list is just a starting point and nothing is set in stone. But supporters say tax reform is needed and it's needed now.
If you look at other states, California taxes just about everything and in the last 10 years is considered the least financially stable state. South Dakota, on the other hand, is the most stable and they have no state income tax.