"Wow!" "Amazing!" "Unbelievable!" These are the kinds of expressions that come to my mind whenever I hear about the current efforts to defeat the petition drive to put the EPIC Option Consumption Tax on the ballot for 2024. The EPIC Option Consumption Tax is the fix for our broken tax system, and those who oppose putting it on the ballot are undermining the right of the citizens to make that choice for themselves.
Two years ago, I was visited by a couple of nationally acclaimed economists. The names of those two economists were Art Laffer and Steven Moore. They came to my office in Lincoln in order to get a complete understanding of my idea for a consumption tax. After analyzing the proposal, both men said they were one hundred percent behind what I was trying to do.
Art Laffer especially warned me that there would be overwhelming opposition to my consumption tax proposal. He told me that the opposition would come primarily from those who currently collect and spend Nebraska's tax dollars as well as those who prefer a tax system where government entities can pick winners and losers. He also said that all of the unions would oppose the idea.
Laffer was right! The list of those organizations who now openly oppose the EPIC Option Consumption Tax perfectly matches what Laffer predicted two years ago. Laffer knew that these organizations would oppose the idea of a consumption tax because they are the same kinds of organizations who opposed him during the 1970's when he put Proposition 13 on the ballot in California. Proposition 13 capped California's property tax at one percent, but it did not eliminate their property tax altogether. Because the EPIC Option Consumption Tax eliminates four taxes, he predicted that the opposition would be overwhelming, and he was right.
The list of organizations opposing the EPIC Option Consumption Tax creates the most peculiar pairing of alliances I have ever seen in Nebraska politics. Last week a reporter told me that I had done something never seen before. So, I asked him what that was? He responded by saying that I have brought together the liberal, progressive think tank known as the Open Sky Institute in partnership with the conservative think tank known as the Platte Institute, and the rural farm organizations, such as the Farm Bureau, are now working in tandem with the urban organizations, such as the League of Municipalities, and the Nebraska Realtors Association is now aligning on the same side with those government subdivisions who have the authority to raise property tax levies.
No matter the organization, what all of these organizations who oppose the EPIC Option Consumption Tax have in common is that they are misinformed about it. What has become clearly evident to me is that these organizations have never read the bill, they have never paid for or done their own dynamic study of it, and they have never contacted me or anyone else on our team to get their questions answered.
Truth does not matter to these organizations. Instead of investigating the truth, they continue to spread information from a bogus study done by the Open Sky Institute three years ago on a completely different bill which said that a consumption tax in Nebraska would require a rate of 15 to 22 percent, or perhaps they perform their own fallacious calculations on the back of a napkin. The truth of the matter is that the only objective, dynamic study ever done on the EPIC Option Consumption Tax is the one released in February of this year by the Beacon Hill Institute, and that study said that the rate could be as low as 7.23 percent and still supply the State of Nebraska will all of its revenue needs.
So, let me close with some good news. The petition drive to put the EPIC Option Consumption Tax on the ballot for 2024 is gaining more and more momentum every day. Not only is this apparent by the organizations who oppose it, but it is also evident by the progress our team is making. We have hired a professional circulating group called Trailblazing Canvassers to help us collect the required number of signatures. In addition, we have more than 160 volunteers who are collecting signatures statewide.
The main group that our opponents have overlooked is You – the taxpayer. Many of you have signed the petition and have donated money to the petition drive. The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska and those behind the Convention of the States movement have been essential to this effort. I have not forgotten Nebraska's taxpayers and I will continue to pursue tax relief until we make Nebraska the most tax friendly state in America.