Nebraskans face property tax relief but concerns about burden on property owners and consumers loom.

Business owners express concerns as proposed property tax relief bill may increase reliance on sales taxes

Nebraskans may soon receive property tax relief thanks to a legislative package brought to the Unicameral floor for debate. Governor Jim Pillen, who prioritized the tax package, called it “historic” and “transformational.” However, some state senators have criticized Nebraska’s tax system as lopsided and placing too much burden on property owners.

Organizations like the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce have opposed shifting this burden to consumers through sales tax hikes. Business owners, such as Sarah Linden of Grateful Green, are concerned about specific sales tax increases included in the proposal. For example, a 100% tax on CBD and hemp products may deter customers and lead to lower sales tax revenue as businesses close. Linden believes these measures are punitive and will harm lower to middle-income consumers who rely on these products for medical purposes.

At Brewsky’s Food and Spirits, owner Brian Kitten highlighted the importance of games of skill machines in generating revenue, especially during the pandemic. However, with proposed taxes on these games set at 20%, Kitten fears losing a valuable source of income. He describes the potential impact as a “downward spiral” for his business.

As the debate continues on the floor, changes may be made to the specifics of the bill. The overall goal is to alleviate the burden of property taxes on Nebraskans, but mixed reactions from various stakeholders mean that more tinkering with language may be needed before a final vote is taken.

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