The tax facts

From a story by JoAnne Young in the Tuesday, January 15 Lincoln Journal Star (emphasis mine):

In four words: taxes are too high.

It’s become a gubernatorial mantra, oft repeated in a state that ranks high among its peers in the amount of money residents pay to live here.

Taxes in Nebraska are too high, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman said to the Legislature in his State of the State address Tuesday morning. And if it was up to him, more relief would be on the way, in the form of $75 million in property tax relief, increasing the amount for each property owner from the current $83 to $151 per $100,000 of assessed value.

Last year, the Legislature lowered taxes, giving property tax relief, repealing the death tax, eliminating the marriage penalty, expanding the earned income tax credit and repealing the sales tax on construction labor.

From Don Walton’s column in Monday’s Journal Star (emphasis again mine):

Lots of imprecise, and often misleading, talk about the comparative level of taxes paid by Nebraskans.

Some recent stats on Nebraska’s ranking among the states:

* 2006 state tax revenue: 30th in terms of per capita taxes; 31st in terms of percentage of personal income; source:

* 2007 combined state and local tax burden, as defined by dividing total tax payments by total income; ninth; source: Tax Foundation.

* 2007 combined state, local and federal tax burden, as previously defined; 22nd; source: Tax Foundation.

Although on the high end in terms of local taxation, Nebraskans appear to be somewhere in the middle in terms of total taxes paid.

That’s not what you hear — and read — virtually every day.

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