Heineman: “Tax increases are job killers”

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April 13th, 2011

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Lincoln, NE – Governor Dave Heineman is criticizing several potential tax and spending increases advancing in the Legislature.

Gov. Dave Heineman said the sales tax bill advancing in the Legislature is a tax hike, whether Senators admit it or not. (Photo courtesy Governor's Office)

The governor’s comments came one day after the Legislature gave first round approval to a bill that would allow cities to increase sales taxes by half a percent. Heineman said that would be a step in the wrong direction.

“The sales tax is a regressive tax,” he said. “It hurts low income and middle income families hardest of all. Buying a car will cost more, buying a refrigerator or washer and dryer at Nebraska Furniture Mart will cost more. And if that’s not enough, tax increases are job killers.”

“We’ve worked hard in Nebraska to lower taxes and control spending, and to invest in education and jobs,” he said, “and the end result is the second lowest unemployment rate in America. Let’s not jeopardize jobs by raising taxes.”

Supporters of the bill say it would help cities balance their budgets at a time when the state is ending its financial aid to cities to help balance its own budget. They also point out that cities would not be able to increase sales taxes unless voters approve. But Heineman expressed little sympathy with those arguments.

“Cities ought to be cutting spending rather than raising taxes,” he said. “Senators can try to disguise their vote as something other than a tax increase, but Nebraskans understand that’s not accurate. Let’s be very clear here, if this bill does not pass, there will be no tax increase. If it passes, then there’s the possibility of a tax increase, particularly on the citizens of Omaha.”

“Twenty seven senators voted for this bill,” Heineman said, “and the simple truth is they are enabling a tax increase.”

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