Wednesday, January 26, 2005

LB 399

The Nebraska Legislature is in love with the Inheritance Tax money that is collected for the counties. Last year there were three attempts to have the state keep it for a time, thereby helping to ease the enormous deficit they were fighting. The theory was that they would still give it to us but on an amortized basis. We would still eventually get all of the money that was due us, as soon as they were done averaging it out over 5 years. Right.
Those bills met with such strong opposition from NACO (our assoc. of county officials) that they all failed. Versions of those same bills are on the horizon for this session, but alas, the State Senators are now going to try to abolish the counties inheritance tax. At first blush, this sounds like a dream come true for taxpayers. The problem is that the counties use this revenue to help maintain a reserve for a rainy day. (or a dark and stormy night that takes out 10 of our bridges or a high profile trial that brings a group of lawyers to town) If the storms or the lawyers don't converge, the money is used to help write down taxes. The revenue from inheritance money, if stopped, would be replaced thru property taxes. Something this county's taxpayers can't stand.
LB 399 would allow the State Senators to be able to say that they cut the tax burden for the states taxpayers by 30 million so they could then raise their revenues by 30 million and it would be a wash. Only problem being the counties would have to raise their property taxes 30 million and it would be percieved as their fault.
If taxes go down because of wise spending, thats a good thing. But simply to rearrange the furniture doesn't work. Someone gets left leaning against the wall and in this case, it's the counties.


Anonymous said...

Compared to other states the property tax is out of sight already in Nebraska. I think we all realize that there are only so many taxpayers and it costs so much to run the government. I would hope the elected officials in Nebraska remember you can only pay so much tax before the back of taxpayers will break.
Cold in Indianapolis.

Susi said...

Sounds like Florida. When they started the Lottery (AKA: the Tax on the Stupid) they promised the profit would all go to the education fund. What they didn't say was that no more general revenue money would go to education. So now education funding is directly connected to the stupidity of the under-educated. There's something ironic about this.
Virginia elected a governor who promised to eliminate the Car Tax. Same thing as your Inheritance tax... goes to run the counties. As a compromise the state has been the one to reimburse the car owners for the money the car owners pay to the counties. Just postage alone costs the state a bunch! They don't believe TANFL (There Ain't No Free Lunch) applies to them.