Tax modernization committee plan approved

Senators passed a resolution May 30 that establishes the Tax Modernization Committee to review and recommend updates to Nebraska’s tax code.

Under LR155, introduced by Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, the committee will continually review and recommend updates to Nebraska’s tax code. Chambers said the committee’s focus will be on gathering information.

“[The committee] is not starting with the notion that the ultimate outcome will be a recommendation to slash the tax system,” he said. “The committee will not be creating a framework or structure. They will be producing a report and if the conclusion is that the process or system must be change, the report would tell the Legislature what needs to be done.”

The committee is directed to consider fairness, competitiveness, simplicity and compliance, stability, adequacy and complementary tax systems as it evaluates Nebraska’s current tax code.

The committee comprises the members of the Revenue Committee and the chairperson of the following committees: Appropriations, Health and Human Services, Education, Agriculture and Planning. Two other members of the Legislature will be selected to serve on the committee by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council.

Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery supported the resolution, saying it provides a unique opportunity.

“We need to make sure we’re taxing the things that need to be taxed and doing it consistently,” he said. “I have no doubt we will benefit significantly from this study.”

The committee will provide a preliminary report to the Legislature and the governor by Dec. 15 and a final report is due by Nov. 15, 2014. The committee will continue to meet at least once annually to review and evaluate the tax code.

Senators approved the resolution on a 40-0 vote.

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