Nebraska’s state tax system is the equivalent of a train wreck. We are one of the most over-taxed states in the U.S. The burden of property taxes on agricultural land is oppressive. The burden of property taxes in urban areas like Omaha and Lincoln is painful.
Citizens who are weary after paying oppressive taxes are selling their property and leaving our state. That includes senior citizens who are moving away from grandchildren and farmers or ranchers who are selling land that has been in their family for generations because they can’t afford the taxes anymore.
For decades, many Nebraska senators have introduced legislation to change the tax system, but their legislative bills simply touched a small portion of the problem and the snowball called “oppressive taxes” continued to grow in size while rolling down the hill. In truth, most legislative bills have been the equivalent of putting a band aid on a heart attack.
We must stop this carnage of citizens leaving Nebraska because of our oppressive tax system!
So here is the good news. There is a bold and innovative plan called EPIC Consumption Tax Reform that is the solution. EPIC is an acronym that means Eliminate Property, Income and Corporate taxes.
This bold plan will actually eliminate five current Nebraska taxes: property tax, personal income tax, corporate income tax, sales tax and inheritance tax. Those five taxes will be replaced with one EPIC Consumption Tax paid by consumers when they purchase retail products or services. Consumption tax is only paid one time on new retail products or services.
There will be no consumption tax on business-to-business transactions. Business inputs like equipment, fertilizer, seed, fuel and parts will have no consumption tax. A manufacturing business like a print shop will not pay consumption tax on the press, bindery equipment, paper or ink. There is no tax on used items.
Low- and middle-income citizens will benefit from the EPIC consumption tax plan because all Nebraskans will receive a monthly pre-bate payment from the Nebraska Department of Revenue to pay the consumption tax on necessities like food and utilities up to the federal poverty line. That makes their consumption tax on those necessities zero. In addition, all citizens will also have more disposable income because they will no longer pay sales tax on used items.
How can we eliminate these five taxes and keep all of our state and local government units operating? How do we ensure that our public schools, county governments, cities and local units of government like natural resources districts still have all the funding they need?
The Beacon Hill Institute of Boston, Massachusetts issued a report using Nebraska government budgets that used a dynamic calculation model to ensure that EPIC consumption tax would be revenue neutral – that is, it would replace the taxes currently generated by our broken tax system dollar for dollar.
To be revenue neutral, their model calculates a consumption tax of 8.97% on retail products and services, which is an effective rate of 4.5% to 5% due to the pre-bate. This consumption tax rate will generate $10.9 Billion of tax revenue needed to pay for all Nebraska state, county and city government budgets beginning in the year 2024.
A Nebraska constitutional amendment and vote by Nebraska citizens on the November 2022 ballot is required to change our tax system. The constitution amendment can become eligible for the ballot with 30 yes votes in the Legislature during the 2022 session or by implementing a petition drive to collect 160,000-plus signatures of registered voters by July 2022.
Either way, citizens sharing the benefits of EPIC Consumption Tax savings with their families and neighbors will be critically important to this bold and innovation EPIC consumption tax plan becoming a reality. It will make Nebraska “the Good Life” – one of the least taxed states in the nation.
For more details and to calculate your potential tax savings, visit www.EPICtax.org.