Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
Today, I want to discuss with you the Nebraska Legislature's proposal to increase the sales tax rate. Here are the facts. LB 357 would increase the sales tax by a half-cent on Nebraska citizens. In Omaha, and 85 other cities, that would be a 33% increase in the local sales tax rate.
Local governments should be controlling their spending instead of increasing taxes. They should balance their budget without raising taxes, just like we have done at the state level.
I am against increasing taxes and that is why I vetoed LB 357. I am asking state senators to sustain my veto and stand against a sales tax increase.
Increasing taxes will have detrimental effects on our entire state and reverse progress that we have worked hard to make over the last seven years. Increasing the sales tax will make Ainsworth, Albion, Alliance, Bellevue, Blair, Columbus, Cozad, Crete, Fremont, Gering, Grand Island, Gretna, Hastings, Kearney, LaVista, Lexington, Lincoln, McCook, Norfolk, North Platte, Omaha, Scottsbluff, Valentine, York, other Nebraska cities, and the State of Nebraska less competitive for jobs. This sales tax increase would not only be on the working men and women of Omaha and other cities, but every Nebraskan who shops in these cities.
Nebraska has made significant economic progress and I don't want to take a step backwards. When I assumed the office of Governor in January 2005, we had just experienced some very tough economic times in our state. Taxes were too high, too many young people were leaving the state, and Nebraska wasn't competitive nationally or globally for jobs.
I worked with the business leadership of this state to dramatically alter Nebraska's economic position. We modernized our economic incentive programs, the Nebraska Advantage, and it has been incredibly successful. Since 2006, Nebraska has had 289 businesses decide to expand or locate in our state and they will be investing more than $7.6 billion in our economy, creating more than 19,700 jobs. This is an incredible achievement, especially when considering the national economic climate during this period of time. The Nebraska Advantage is working.
We have also worked hard to give Nebraskans well-deserved tax relief. In 2007, we passed the largest tax relief package in Nebraska's history. We wisely built up our cash reserve. We controlled the growth of state spending and we passed balanced budgets without raising taxes. Even though we have made good progress, we still have more work to do.
Nebraska is economically stronger than most states, but many Nebraska families struggle from paycheck to paycheck. This sales tax increase will hurt them and it will be a step backwards for our state and the significant progress we have made.
The Nebraska Legislature wants to increase the sales tax rate and I encourage you to contact your state senator to voice your opinion on this issue.
I will continue to oppose efforts to increases taxes. I hope you will join me in this effort and make your voice heard.