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Tax debate set for Tuesday in Lincoln

Posted: 10:11 PM, May 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-06 23:11:46-04
Tax debate set for Tuesday in Lincoln

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Get ready for a showdown in Lincoln.

A bill will be debated Tuesday that aims to bring down property taxes in Nebraska.

"It's a burden on families, it's a burden on young people trying to buy a house,” says state senator, Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn.

The bill would reduce property taxes by raising the state’s sales tax by a half -cent and taxing items that currently aren't taxed.

So you could soon pay more for your haircut, your puppy's checkup at the vet or when you take your car to the shop.

"I just think it's going to be more of a sticker shock then it already is,” says Joel Haver, owner of Haver Auto Repair. "It's not taxing me, it's taxing my customers and it's making my reputation look bad, says Haver.

Places like Haver’s aren't exactly tax exempt right now. Auto parts are already taxed, so Haver doesn't think it's fair to double up, and tax labor as well.

"We send a ton of money into the state that our customers pay for taxes,” says Haver.

One reason property taxes are so high, is counties need the money to pay for public schools.

Linehan says currently some rural districts take very little state funds, while more diverse and poor districts are primarily funded by the state.

"Trying to be fair to every student in Nebraska, whether they go to school at Sandhills Public Schools, where there's 85 students or whether they go to OPS in Omaha where there's 52,000 students,” says Linehan.

The bill will likely get a veto from Governor Pete Ricketts, who says the key to property tax relief is to control state spending instead.

Something Linehan says is easier said than done.

"That's an easy thing to say and the governor's said it several times but he's been governor for five years, why hasn't he done it,” says Linehan.

If the legislature can override a veto and go through, Haver says it'll be a “hot mess,” at least for a while.

"It is not going to be good, there is going to be some people that are so confused and we'll be like 'well it normally cost this much to do this, you raised your prices.' No the state raised your prices,” says Haver.