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Governor's tax reform discussion begins
During his state of the state address, Governor Dave Heineman said the state needed to have a conversation on tax reform. That conversation began Wednesday afternoon with the introduction of a bill that would eliminate the state's income tax.
There was not an empty seat in room 1524 at the capitol Wednesday as the discussion on tax reform began.
"We've just begun the fight, this conversation is just beginning," said Governor Heineman.
Legislative Bill 405 was introduced by Omaha Senator Beau McCoy.
"Fundamental tax reform, to simplify our tax system, make it more fair and modernize it for our sons and daughters," said McCoy.
It's been 50 years since there's been any kind of discussion on taxes, but both the Governor and Senator McCoy say it's time.
"Can anyone tell me, with a straight face that our current system of keeping our young people and retirees here in Nebraska is working as well as it could and should," McCoy said.
But not everyone support the legislation.
"Some of the famers we deal with on some of the tax issues on that part and just different things that the bill has to do with farming and agriculture and all that," said ag professional Doug Vrana.
A number of agricultural professionals were in attendance either opposing the elimination of the exemption or hoping to learn more about the proposal.
"See what the public is talking about with these new tax bills for the farms and feedlot industries and see what the opinions are," said T.J. Martin.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars showed their support saying their exemption from state income tax would actually benefit their members.
"A lot of these veterans are living day to day so we have no choice but to help our veterans get by and support the governor on this bill," said VFW State Commander Dave Beran.
Members of the Revenue Committee say this is a good starting point when discussing tax reform, but that the exemptions in the bill are not set in stone.
Thursday, a proposed scaled-down version of his tax reform bill will be discussed.
That bill would eliminate corporate income tax and reduce taxes of social security and other retirement income.
And, according to Nebraska Watchdog, Ernie Chambers is threatening to hold the legislature up if the bill makes it out of committee.
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