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Straight Talk From Steve: Property Valuation Protest Deadline

Nebraskans are still fuming about their new property valuation notices and I don't blame them one bit. The deadline for filing an appeal is June 30, and this year we could see the highest number of property valuation protests ever filed in the history of our State. High property taxes are the number one reason why people leave our State.

Nebraska's property tax system is a failed experiment in taxation. In 1966 the citizens of Nebraska voted to amend the Nebraska State Constitution, creating what is commonly referred to as the three-legged stool. The three legs of Nebraska's taxation stool are state income taxes, state sales taxes, and property taxes. After 56 years of taxing the citizens in this way, we can now safely conclude that the three-legged stool is a failed experiment in taxation which does not work.

The main reason that the three-legged stool does not work is that two out of the three legs of the stool are confiscatory taxes. Confiscatory means that the government takes your money before you ever have a chance to spend it. The state sales tax is the only leg of the stool which is not considered a confiscatory tax. When the government takes your money before you can spend it, you no longer have control over your money or your taxes.

This year the Legislature passed LB 243, which will allow taxpayers to claim 23 percent of their property tax bill as a refund or credit on their State income taxes. But, even if local units of government were to lower their levies by ten percent, the new valuation of your home or property will most likely result in an increase in your overall tax burden. In other words, LB 243 will result in a decrease in the amount of your increase.

The only way out of this mess is to end the experiment. The solution to Nebraska's tax problem is the EPIC Option Consumption Tax. The advantage of the EPIC Option Consumption Tax is that it would repeal the state income tax, the state sales tax, the property tax and the inheritance tax and replace all of these taxes with a 7.5 percent consumption tax on services and new goods.

The beauty of the EPIC Option Consumption Tax is that it puts the taxpayer back in control of his or her taxes. It puts the taxpayer back into control because it allows the taxpayer to spend his or her money before the government can collect it. In short, it operates on a pay-as-you-go basis and so it is the only kind of tax which can never over-tax the people.

The EPIC Option Consumption Tax is not too good to be true. Many people ask, "Where does the money come from to run the State?" or, "Would it be revenue neutral?" These are great questions and the answer is that we can be revenue neutral with a consumption tax rate of 7.5 percent. By switching over to a consumption tax, all of the current sales tax exemptions would go away. Over the years, the State Legislature has given away $75 billion in taxable sales in the form of various sales tax exemptions. By eliminating those sales tax exemptions and by taxing services, the EPIC Option Consumption Tax would be revenue neutral at a rate of 7.5 percent and still generate an additional $400 million cushion for the State of Nebraska.

So, where to we go from here? First, let me remind you to file your property valuation protest by June 30. Then, after you file your appeal take some time to visit the website for the EPIC Option Consumption Tax at http://www.epicoption.org. Finally, sign our two petitions to put the EPIC Option Consumption Tax on the ballot for 2024. The only way we can solve Nebraska's tax problem is for the taxpayers to speak out and assert themselves, and you can do this by signing our petitions and voting in 2024. Nebraska's tax system will never change until the voters feel enough pain from the current system to make the change for themselves.

 

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