Weekly Column

Nebraska's economy has evolved – our tax code has not

While Nebraska’s economy remains reliant upon agriculture, the broader economy, following national trends, has moved away from a dependence on manufacturing and goods to knowledge and service. Nebraska’s tax code does not reflect that decades long trend.

The prior economic mix meant the state did not need to tax seldom-used service. Despite this shift, sales tax exemptions for services, such as dry cleaning and landscaping, remain in the state’s tax code. This array of exemptions has imbalanced the three legged tax stool, leaving it leaning heavily upon property taxes.

Recognizing the importance of SNAP in rural Nebraska

In our state’s rural communities, where the food that feeds the world is grown, food insecurity is endured by thousands of children, seniors, and hardworking Nebraskans. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps stave off hunger for 1 in 11 Nebraskans.

Yet, the president’s 2019 budget outlines a nearly $214 billion cut to SNAP over the next decade. A cut of this magnitude would undoubtedly impact rural Nebraskans.

Taking Medicaid expansion to the vote of all Nebraskans

During the last six years, nearly 90,000 Nebraskans have fallen into the health insurance coverage gap, as the legislature stood by and failed to extend Medicaid coverage to these seniors, parents, and hard-working residents.

Now, Nebraskans will have the opportunity to decide the future of this expanded coverage for their neighbors, as a statewide petition drive is underway.

Recommendations for crafting wind ordinances

Wind turbines are multiplying across the U.S., and most are installed in rural areas overlooking crops, cattle, timber, and lakes. Rural communities receive several benefits from the development of wind energy, but the growth of the industry has also presented a challenge in the form of local regulations that may be insufficient or out-of-date.

We suggest residents and local officials take the following steps when drafting new zoning regulations or ordinances.

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