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Expert Praises Our Nebraska Tax Reform Options

2 min readBy: Joseph Bishop-Henchman

I wanted to make sure you saw David Brunori’s column in Forbes praising our new book on Nebraska taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. reform, Building on Success: A Guide to Fair, Simple, Pro-Growth Tax Reform for Nebraska. In collaboration with the Platte Institute in Nebraska, we together laid out options for Nebraska to promote economic growth by tackling overly high income tax rates, either in a revenue-neutral manner or in a manner that cuts tax burdens. I was in Omaha and Lincoln last week discussing the book with state senators and other stakeholders.

Brunori, the deputy publisher of Tax Analysts and a public finance instructor at George Washington University, had this to say about our suggestions:

[T]he plan is consistent with virtually every notion of sound tax policy. It would make the Nebraska tax system fairer, simpler, and more conducive to retaining people and firms.

Variations of the plan would slash personal and corporate rates even more. They aren’t revenue neutral. But I don’t know where the idea that all tax reform must be revenue neutral came from anyway. Is the plan from the Tax Foundation and the Platte Institute perfect? No. It calls for more property taxA property tax is primarily levied on immovable property like land and buildings, as well as on tangible personal property that is movable, like vehicles and equipment. Property taxes are the single largest source of state and local revenue in the U.S. and help fund schools, roads, police, and other services. limitations. Property tax limits are never good policy, in my opinion. And of course, I would not only reduce corporate rates (and corporate tax incentives), I would end the tax and the incentives. But the plan is pretty darn good.

Check out David’s full piece here. Download our Nebraska book for free here.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, which I tried to keep in mind as I read yesterday’s proposal from the left-wing Open Sky Institute. They copy our sales taxA sales tax is levied on retail sales of goods and services and, ideally, should apply to all final consumption with few exemptions. Many governments exempt goods like groceries; base broadening, such as including groceries, could keep rates lower. A sales tax should exempt business-to-business transactions which, when taxed, cause tax pyramiding. reform proposal, but instead of tax cuts they propose boosting state spending on local governments. They assert that their plan will cut property taxes, because local governments will use the extra money to reduce tax burdens rather than hike spending. We think that’s wishful thinking. The state’s Modernization Committee is due to report its recommendations by the end of the year.

I hope you’ll help us make the case for good tax policy in Nebraska and every other state by donating to the Tax Foundation, by clicking here. We’ve recently revamped our donor level options, so be sure to check it out!