LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers are sharply divided over a proposal that seeks to lower property taxes by increasing sales and cigarette taxes and boosting state aid for K-12 schools.
The bill drew criticism Tuesday as lawmakers kicked off a debate on property taxes, one of the top issues of this year’s session.
Gov. Pete Ricketts fervently opposes the bill because it would impose sales taxes on 20 services that are currently exempt.
Sen. Ernie Chambers, of Omaha, angrily denounced the bill as “cruel, heartless and unfeeling” because a higher sales tax could disproportionately hurt the poor.
Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, the Revenue Committee’s chairwoman, says it would modernize a tax system to better reflect a service-based economy.
A coalition of major farm groups is standing behind the bill.