Clash over plan to ease property taxes with hike in certain sales taxes

LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) -- Nebraska lawmakers are considering a bill that would give people a break on property taxes by increasing sales taxes.

LB 314 would raise the state sales tax by half a percentage point. It would add taxes to certain services and to certain items like candy, soda and bottled water.

On Wednesday Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska grocers came out against the bill.

Governor Ricketts said, “Taxing working Nebraskans and making their grocery bills more expensive by taxing food, pop, candy, bottled water, is not the answer.”

The Governor said this bill will affect poor Nebraskans and force one group to essentially pay for homeowners to have a tax cut.

Lou Ann Linehan, of the Revenue Committee, said this won’t affect low income families.

“Food is need to have, candy is nice to have. So we're trying to make sure that we are not taxing anything that people have to have.”

Marcia Anderson is a homeowner in Omaha who would benefit from lower property taxes if this bill passed.

She said, “I think we are a little short-sighted by just saying less taxes, less taxes, less taxes, without analyzing what kind of life we want.”

Anderson says taxes all over Nebraska need to be reshaped. She knows some of her retired neighbors can't afford thousands of dollars in property taxes.

“I like our neighborhood to include all of us and some of these folks have lived here 40 years and that kind of a property tax increase is very hard.”

But she says she understands that if her property taxes go down, other taxes will be forced up.

“If you don't have the money you can't spend it.”

Ricketts argues the bill is too confusing. He says it's too hard for consumers to know what is and isn't being taxed.

The bill would also add taxes to things like tobacco, alcohol, ride-sharing services, landscaping, tanning and a slew of other services and goods.

Click here for details of the bill.