Senators debate century old inheritance tax law

The goal of LB310 is to lower or eliminate the taxes you need to pay when acquiring an inheritance

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN)- Inheritance taxes have been in Nebraska since 1901, and Tuesday many senators worked to get the tax lowered, or eliminated altogether.

“People could say well oh who cares. No, people care. These are people who scraped and saved to have something so that they can pass is down to their children and maybe feel an obligation because their parents gave them something and then we are taxing it, it’s just not okay,” said Senator Lou Ann Linehan.

On Tuesday, State Senators debated changing a tax that is over a century old.  The inheritance tax is a tax on anything of value handed down after a loved one dies, and LB310 is a push to lower those taxes. Those opposed worry that taking that money away will hurt the smaller counties in our state.

“In Nebraska, that money goes straight to the counties, and they use that to help budget their budget and their expenses. I would be for this bill if the State of Nebraska came back and filled that funding back in, but that is not part of the bill,” said Senator Myron Dorn.

Those in favor of this bill feel each county can find a way to budget its expenses.

“I think the counties are one of the best when it comes to watching their resources, but this is not something they should book or depend upon. It fluctuates, so it’s not something they can use for their revenue funds,” said Senator Linehan.

Currently, Nebraska is one of only a handful of states that has any kind of inheritance tax in place.

“The death tax is not a popular tax. People don’t think we should be doing this, and I just think we need to keep working so that it goes away. You know we will turn around one day and be the only state who still does it,” said Senator Linehan.

Some worry that taking away this tax, will only increase other taxes.

“The only way the counties can make it up today is by increasing property taxes,” said Senator Dorn.

Others were opposed, simply because a TV show was opposed to it.

“I’m going to be opposed to this because Westwing is opposed to it. At the end of the day, it was a big thing, a big discussion and that’s why they were opposed to it and so generally I think if I start following West Wing I’ll be okay in this body,” said Senator Justin Wayne.

LB310 was advanced to the next step of enrollment and review with an amendment attached which would raise the exemptions and lower taxes. It still needs to pass two more times before hitting the Governor’s desk.

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