Nebraska economists weigh in on Pillen’s tax policy approach

June 7, 2024, 6 a.m. ·

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At a series of town halls across the state, Gov. Jim Pillen has said he wants to reduce property taxes in Nebraska by 40% by expanding the sales tax base in a special legislative session this summer.

Creighton economics professor Ernie Goss said high property taxes are hurting economic growth in Nebraska.

Creighton Professor Ernie Goss
Creighton economics professor Ernie Goss (Photo courtesy of Creighton University)

He said reducing property taxes and expanding sales taxes would result in faster growth, while benefiting the rich and poor alike.

“The problem I hear in Nebraska is everyone keeps talking about fairness, and they don't talk in terms of growth” Goss said. “Let’s talk about growth. And the problem with property taxes is they do have a negative impact on growth, and sales taxes have less of that.”

Goss said he supports Pillen’s approach, but he has concerns about its implementation.

Eric Thompson stands for a headshot
University of Nebraska-Lincoln economics professor Eric Thompson (Courtesy photo)

Eric Thompson, who chairs the economics department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said there is no specific tax that should be eliminated.

“Since sales and income taxes are levied at the state level, state government should focus on lowering income and sales tax rates,” he said.

Thompson said local governments should be responsible for reducing property taxes they levy.