Approximately 250 signatures needed to hit county target
SIDNEY--The EPIC Option Consumption Tax plan has generated a lot of interest and enthusiasm in Western Nebraska, and has a very strong following here in the Sidney area. Cheyenne County Republican Party Chairwoman Val Nienhauser was at Highby's Coffee Corner on Thursday, December 7, with EPIC Option literature and petitions to sign for voters to get the EPIC Option measure on the ballot in November of 2024.
Details of the EPIC Option have been published in the June 15, 2023 and October 12, 2023 editions of the Sun-Telegraph. In short, the EPIC Option would eliminate five taxes: Property, Income, Inheritance, Corporate and Sales. The plan does not look to raise or lower the amount of overall tax revenue generated by the state, only to change the way these taxes are collected to not only ensure fairness, but to spur economic growth. Full details of the plan can be found at epicoption.org.
Nienhauser said, "The EPIC Option will be a big help for Nebraska taxpayers. Currently, Nebraska relies heavily on property taxes to fund government service, and 60% of Nebraskans are paying 100% of the taxes."
Nienhauser noted the studies performed by economist Stephen Moore and Nobel Prize winning economist Art Laffer showing that enacting EPIC would spur business growth and generate more tax revenues than the current tax system. "Some years ago when California cut their property taxes by a small amount and enacted reforms, they saw an economic boom that brought more tax revenues into the government," Nienhauser said. If enacted, the EPIC Option plan would take effect in 2026.
Nienhauser made it clear that the EPIC Option movement is not affiliated with any other groups, or any other petitions currently being circulated in Cheyenne County. "This is not a "political" issue. We have six State Senators that have proposed an amendment to the state constitution on how we collect taxes in our state. The goal is to make taxation fairer and spur business growth."
EPIC Option proponents have recently hired a professional canvassing firm to gather signatures in the Lincoln and Omaha areas. The EPIC Option faces a greater challenge in these areas, as the status-quo has benefitted these regions of the state. Although many individuals in those areas favor the plan, there is strong institutional resistance to changing a system that has benefitted government institutions and affiliated entities in the eastern part of the sate.
Nienhauser said, "lower-income citizens will greatly benefit from the plan as their are no taxes on food purchased business to business, which will reduce prices for consumers. Also, used items will have no sales taxes, again benefitting lower-income citizens tremendously."
Nienhauser noted how successful the petition drive has been in Cheyenne County, and she said, "We only need about 250 more signatures to hit our target here locally. Overall, there's been a tremendous positive response." In December, there will be a few more opportunities for taxpayers to sign the petition. On December 14, there will be a petition drive at the Dix Community Center. In Kimball County, there will be a petition drive on December 15 at the Kimball Public Library, and on December 18 there will be a petition drive in Bushnell at the Bushnell Fire Hall. All of these petition drives will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and then from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.