Fischer says her bill, LB745, isn’t targeted at any particular city — although last session the Valentine senator also introduced a bill, LB165, that banned cities from charging occupation taxes on telecommunications equipment, a tax the city of Lincoln began collecting in 2010. Fischer contended the new tax — passed by the Lincoln City Council — was little more than a sales tax increase, since most businesses pass occupation taxes onto consumers.
This session, Fischer’s bill would require cities to put proposed occupation taxes to a vote of the people, with a specific purpose for the tax revenue and a sunset date.
“I think citizens are demanding more transparency,” said Fischer, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Ben Nelson. “This provides that transparency.”
Any changes to existing occupation taxes would also have to be put to a vote of the people and have a sunset date, under her bill. It also allows voters to change the rate or termination date of an occupation tax.
Fischer said after passing her bill last session, it became clear citizens statewide were concerned about occupation taxes.
As an example of how the process should work, she pointed to Norfolk, where voters approved an occupation tax for a water park.
“It passed,” Fischer said. “That, to me, is how it should be done.”
Reported by Deena Winter, firstname.lastname@example.org
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