(Neb)-Opening Debate On Property Tax Relief Plan Shows Divided Unicam
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -Floor debate began in the Nebraska legislature Tuesday on LB 289, the Revenue Committee proposal to lower property taxes, and the early going showed a sharply divided Unicameral.
The bill would deliver an estimated $500-million dollars in property tax relief by increasing state school aid, funded by a half-cent increase in the sales tax, a 36-cent hike in the cigarette tax, and the elimination of sales tax exemptions for products such as candy, soft drinks, and bottled water as well as for 29 services including hair care and auto repair.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha angrily denounced the bill as "cruel, heartless and unfeeling" because a higher sales tax could disproportionately hurt the poor while Revenue Chair Senator Lou Ann Linehan argued it modernizes the tax system to better reflect a service-based economy.
Debate lasted the daily maximum of 3 hours, then lawmakers moved on to the next bill without taking a vote.
A coalition of major farm groups came out in favor of the bill shortly before debate began, but Gov. Pete Ricketts fervently opposes the plan.
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