As of last Friday, all five of the public hearings hosted by the Tax Modernization Committee are in the book.
The ideas for the committee were as vast as the number of testifiers and attendees. Here is our testimony:
Statement for the Tax Modernization Committee public hearing
October 17, 2013
Chairman Hadley and Members of the Tax Modernization Committee,
My name is Matthew Litt, M-A-T-T-H-E-W L-I-T-T, and I am the Nebraska State Director of Americans for Prosperity, a grassroots, free-market advocacy group with over 40,000 members statewide.
Our organization is pleased to see the vibrant discussion over Nebraska’s tax policy that has been occurring since the last legislative session. We have tax policy principles we would like to see enacted in the proposal this committee submits following the hearings & in legislation this upcoming session.
There is a growing consensus that work must be done in the area of sales tax. We would like to see, with many others, a broadening of the sales tax base and with it a lowering of the rates.
Property taxes also need to be addressed and may be the most difficult issue; the balance between local needs, local government restraint or lack thereof, and the state government’s role in all of it, is a difficult one. Further means of limiting property tax growth should be taken. We ask you avoid increasing state aid. As some have pointed out, this generally leads to higher taxes all the way around.
We propose your main focus to be cutting the income tax rates for individuals and businesses. Economists generally agree that corporate income taxes are passed onto consumers, resulting in higher prices, lower wages, etc.; affects that hurt everyone in the state. Cuts to the individual income tax should also be made because taxing income discourages wealth creation and long term growth. These opportunities are especially needed for lower- and middle-income citizens and families to prosper.
Finally, the issue of double taxation should be addressed. At a minimum, a local government should not be allowed to levy an occupation tax on a product that the state of Nebraska imposes an excise tax on. We also support efforts to keep local governments from placing occupation taxes on items, services, etc. that are already subject to sales tax. State lawmakers should stop local governments from taxing its citizens twice for the same thing.
Overall, we want tax reform that lowers rates, flattens brackets, broadens the base, is simple, and is as fair as possible. We would like to see these changes reduce tax revenues collected and reduce state spending. Our members and I are very interested in the final proposal the committee submits and legislation next session. Thank you for your time.
Matthew Litt, M.Ed., Nebraska State Director, Americans for Prosperity
The next step for the committee is to go through the suggestions and assemble a proposal in mid-December. There is still time to get involved; if you like what we had to say or want to tell the senators something else, let the Tax Modernization Committee members know here.