Sweeping tax overhaul hits a wall

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska lawmakers rejected a proposal Wednesday to abolish most of the state's taxes in favor of a consumption tax that the state would impose on services and new goods.

Senators in the Nebraska Legislature voted 23-to-19 in favor of the measure, two votes short of what supporters needed to advance it through a first-round vote.

The proposed constitutional amendment would have given voters the chance to approve the idea in the 2022 general election.

The lead sponsor, Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard, says the measure would simplify Nebraska's tax system and give taxpayers a greater measure of control over how much they pay.

“Under the consumption tax, you can never, never be overtaxed, because you decide how much tax you pay, and when you pay them,” Erdman said.

Sen. Carol Blood opposed the proposal. She said her last election opponent had campaigned in favor of the consumption tax.

“And he actually said ‘Well, if people don’t want to pay the tax, they can just not buy the product.’ You know what my seniors have to say about having to pay taxes on their medication? They can’t do it,” Blood said.