Property tax relief bill proposes shifting burden to sales taxes, raising concerns for business owners

Nebraska legislators are currently debating a package of bills that aims to provide relief from property taxes for the state’s residents. Governor Jim Pillen, who has made this issue a priority, described the proposed tax package as “historic” and “transformational.” Some senators have compared Nebraska’s tax system to an unbalanced stool with too much pressure on property owners, prompting the need for relief.

However, organizations like the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce have opposed shifting the tax burden to consumers through sales tax increases. Business owners are concerned about specific hikes, such as a proposed 100% tax on CBD and hemp products, which could lead to a decrease in sales tax revenue as businesses struggle to stay afloat. Sarah Linden, CEO of Grateful Green, pointed out that the proposed tax increase could hurt lower-income individuals who rely on these products for medical purposes.

At Brewsky’s Food and Spirits, owner Brian Kitten expressed worry about a proposed 20% tax on games of skill machines, which could impact his ability to keep his business running. Kitten emphasized the importance of these machines in generating revenue, especially during challenging times like the pandemic. He fears that implementing this tax could lead to further financial difficulties.

The bill is still subject to change while being debated by senators, who may spend several days adjusting the language and specifics of the legislation. The goal remains to provide much-needed property tax relief to Nebraskans, though the path to achieving this relief is still being discussed in the legislative chamber.

By Samantha Johnson

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