Business owners express concerns as proposed property tax relief bill may increase reliance on sales taxes

Balancing Act: Property Tax Relief in Nebraska’s Unbalanced Tax System

On Wednesday, the Unicameral floor held its initial round of debate on a legislative package that aims to provide property tax relief to Nebraskans. Governor Jim Pillen, who prioritized the tax package, referred to it as “historic” and “transformational.” Some state senators have compared Nebraska’s tax system to an unbalanced stool, placing too much weight on property owners. However, groups like the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce have opposed shifting this burden onto consumers through sales tax increases.

Business owners are concerned about specific sales tax hikes included in the proposal. For example, Sarah Linden, CEO of Grateful Green, believes a 100% tax on CBD and hemp products is punitive and will harm lower to middle-income consumers who rely on these products for medical purposes. At Brewsky’s Food and Spirits, owner Brian Kitten fears losing a valuable source of income due to proposed taxes on games of skill machines set at 20%. He describes the potential impact as a “downward spiral” for his business.

The debate on the floor may result in changes to the bill’s specifics as senators tinker with the language. The overall goal is to alleviate the burden of property taxes on Nebraskans, but proposals have drawn mixed reactions from various stakeholders in the state.


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