Nebraska's governor softening on sales tax proposal

Published online: Feb 18, 2013
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Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman appears to be softening on the issue of eliminating sales tax exemptions on agricultural inputs, a proposal that has come under fire from Nebraska agricultural groups. 

At the Governor's Ag Conference in Kearney recently, Heineman met privately with many of the state's ag leaders.  In a later interview with Brownfield, Heineman said of those ag input sales tax exemptions, "eventually I think those may be off the table".

"I wouldn't say it's off the table yet-but I think that may be where it's headed," Heineman said.

"I think we were all a little uncomfortable with the input side of what we're doing.  But right now everybody's throwing out ideas.  Let's get in the big room here eventually, decide which ones should be exempt from sales tax for example-which ones shouldn't be-which other services ought to be part of the equation."

And Heineman says he's open to throwing property tax relief into the mix as well.  That's something ag groups have been clamoring for.

In January Heineman proposed dropping the state income tax and offsetting that loss of revenue by eliminating some of the sales tax exemptions which have been granted over the years.  Many of the production inputs that farmers and ranchers use, including farm equipment, fertilizer and chemicals, are currently exempt from the sales tax.