Taxpayers will be able to hear two proposals for changing the state’s tax system on Tuesday, Sept. 7 during a special event at the Midwest Theater in Scottsbluff.
The “Taxpayers Decide” event, presented by the Platte Institute for Economic Research, will feature two plans by current District 47 state senator Steve Erdman and former state senator Jim Smith. The event will last from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Smith, who recently became the chief strategy officer for the Platte Institute, will showcase the Blueprint Nebraska Tax Modernization Plan. Smith has been president of the Blueprint Nebraska organization for the last three years. The group “developed its 15-point plan to create a stronger, more competitive economy and to make Nebraska's communities prosperous and attractive to business investment and growth,” Smith said via email.
The Blueprint plan aims to broaden the sales tax base, consolidate personal income taxes to two brackets with lower rates, decrease corporate tax rates, generate more than $2 billion in property tax relief, and eliminate the inheritance tax. Smith said it would bring in more than 65,000 new jobs and residents, and generate over $130 billion in economic output, over the next 10 years.
“The Blueprint Nebraska tax modernization initiative is just one part of a larger economic strategic plan focused on growing Nebraska's economy and workforce, and making the state a leader among its peers,” Smith said. “It is important to provide an understanding of our plan to Nebraska's taxpayers and to enlist their help in making these necessary changes and improvements to the state's tax code.”
Erdman said it is important for Nebraskans to see just how broken the current tax system is through the presentations provided.
His EPIC Consumption Tax plan would replace income, property, sales, and inheritance tax with a new tax on retail sales of services and new goods. It would also come with a monthly pre-bate, covering tax burdens up to the federal poverty rate. “Nebraska’s tax system does not need to be reworked; it needs to be replaced,” Erdman said via email. “…Trying to fix Nebraska’s tax system is like putting a Band-Aid on an amputated limb.”
In January of this year, Erdman introduced a resolution, LR11CA, which called for a constitutional amendment in the state of Nebraska to impose a consumption tax. The bill advanced out of the Revenue Committee, but was two votes short of having the Legislature pass it. He said the Consumption Tax Institute, which developed the plan, could help petition for it to be back on the ballot next year with enough public support.
“I have found through my own experience that whenever people take the time to understand the EPIC Consumption Tax, they fall in love with it almost immediately,” he said.
During Tuesday evening’s event, first Smith, and then Erdman, will present their tax plans to the assembled taxpayers and then take questions from them about the plans themselves. The pair will host similar events, also presented by the Platte Institute, on Sept. 8 in North Platte and Sept. 9 in Kearney.