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Fischer Introduces Bill to Control Occupation Taxes

By   /   January 4, 2012  /   6 Comments

Sen. Deb Fischer introduced legislation today that is intended to control the expansion of occupation taxes in cash-strapped Nebraska cities.

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, deena@nebraskawatchdog.org

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Deena Winter is a reporter for NebraskaWatchdog.org. Contact her at deena@nebraskawatchdog.org and follow her on Twitter @DeenaNEWatchdog.

  • John

    All taxes, whether occupation, corporate, sales, or anything else, is ultimately paid by the consumer. Most on the Left can’t handle the concept. They have been taught to believe business and corporations are evil and should be taxed relentlessly. Yet, these are the same idiots that complain because their cost of living goes up.

    Deb has hit this out of the park. It is the people who should vote on these, not the city council, mayor, or Legislature.

    However, there are some that will still complain about the increase even though they are the ones who voted for it.

  • Govt Observer

    John, you are exactly correct and I could not have said it better. The City Council members, mayors, and State Senators have forgotten who the represent. It is the citizens that vote them in and it is the citizens that deserve the chance to vote on anything that is a new tax.

  • country

    Both commentors above our correct…..and take it a step further….who should vote? Just the citizens of the City? What about the other people who pay the tax? The cities know that they cannot pass additional real estate taxes without being removed from office….so they want sales taxes, enetertainment taxes, taxes on restaurants , etc…under the theory that local voters may pass such a tax because a big portion is paid by non-residents. Omaha is trying to shift its sewer problem to anyone who shops in Omaha. If you are from Fremont, you pay your sewer bills and sewer taxes…and now maybe Omaha’s also. Hope the outstae Senators wake up and kill that bill…dead on arrival Big O.

  • What!?

    Exactly right! These Politicians haven’t heard the taxpayer when they’ve said . . . . . “NO NEW TAXES!” Instead we get increased wheel tax, a Restaurant tax, and increases in property tax. Now Omaha Mayor Suttle wants to increase sales tax!! Enough already.

  • Jeff Poley

    Deena:

    I’m always amused by the tax whinners. We have a system in Nebraska that I believe is called voting for or against persons who run for public office. If folks don’t like what the people elected to office do with public funds, those folks can be tossed out of office. Deb Fischer, by the way, is the state Senator that authored and pushed the legislation that earmarks state general funds to subsidize the construction of roads. Don’t think I got a chance to vote on that.

    Jeff…

  • Sue

    I think Deb Fischer is right on. Let’s send a person to the US Senate that has this kind of attitude toward taxes.

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