Three years ago, near the end of my unicameral tenure, a group of leaders from across the state asked me to help craft a plan for economic growth and competitiveness, from Scottsbluff to Omaha and McCook. to Valentine.
Through surveys, statewide public forums, and ideas from hundreds of initiative volunteers, we developed Blueprint Nebraska, a 15-point plan to make Nebraska communities prosperous and more. attractive to people, business investment and growth.
These 15 initiatives have an impact on different economic areas, including agriculture, broadband, housing, diversity, etc. But each comes down to promoting high-wage, high-growth industries, improving our workforce, investing in infrastructure that connects our communities, and building leaner, more efficient and effective government.
You can read more about these recommendations at Master Plan-Nebraska.org.
As part of this process, Nebraskans identified tax structure as one of the top three concerns for individuals and businesses. Nebraska’s current tax system places too heavy a strain on the workforce, housing, technology, and investment we need to grow.
The 21st the economy of the century is increasingly service-based and mobile. Nebraska’s tax system must be modernized to align with these trends and to increase competitiveness and fairness.
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With input from Nebraskans, academic tax research, and economic analysis from Regional Economic Models Inc., Blueprint Nebraska has developed a new framework for tax modernization that achieves three bold, non-partisan goals.
1. The Nebraska Blueprint Tax Plan rebalances the tax code to increase the workforce. Individual taxpayers earning less than $ 50,000 a year would pay absolutely no state income taxes, new student loan relief credits would recruit graduates in high-demand fields, and $ 2 billion would be added. ten-year land tax relief.
2. Wealthier Nebraskans would pay more than they do today, but at competitive tax rates that reward investment. The plan contains three revenue-raising provisions that conservative and progressive tax experts agree on: ending sales tax exemptions, eliminating tax deductions and reducing corporate tax credits. Sales taxes would not increase and would not be applied to groceries or most exempt medical purchases. State revenues would increase, but at lower tax rates more comparable to our peer states.
3. Independent economic analysis shows that the Blueprint Framework benefits all income groups, communities and industries statewide. In all parts of Nebraska, taxpayers earning less than $ 50,000 would see, on average, a reduction of about 20% in the tax burden. And with higher wages, lower property taxes, and no county estate taxes, the personal incomes of middle-class Nebraskans earning more than $ 50,000, but less than $ 200,000, would increase by $ 10.4 billion. additional dollars by 2031.
Until the end of 2021, the Platte Institute will hold town halls and sessions statewide to introduce and explain the tax modernization framework and why it is an important part of a larger economic plan for the future. of Nebraska.
Of course, major change is never easy. Asking Nebraskans to pay sales tax on currently exempt purchases is new and different. But now we have a model for the best tax system that we can create in return. We envision a state where average Nebraskans pay little or no income tax, landowners and landowners get more tax relief, and all of our loved ones have the same opportunities as residents of 45 other states, where there is no inheritance tax.
The construction of this fairer and more balanced system will put taxes at a lower level of economic concerns for Nebraskans. It will also bolster our many other efforts to retain and attract future leaders who will help make Nebraska an even more welcoming state.
Jim Smith, of Papillion, is President of Blueprint Nebraska and Director of Strategy at the Platte Institute.