LINCOLN — Leaders of the Nebraska Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Cattlemen joined Gov. Dave Heineman on Monday in calling for an end to the inheritance tax.
The governor has named elimination of the tax as a top priority for the year. It is collected by counties and paid by those who inherit assets.
The two ag leaders said the inheritance tax makes it difficult for farmers and ranchers to pass their operations from one generation to the next.
It creates a burden because of the capital-intensive nature of the business, said Steve Nelson, Farm Bureau president.
Michael Kelsey, executive director of the cattlemen's group, argued that inheritance taxes are not good policy.
“Death should not be a taxable event,” he said.
Both said they think counties can handle the loss of revenue without increasing property taxes, which also are a major concern for farmers and ranchers.
The inheritance tax provides $42 million annually to counties statewide, and $7 million to $9 million alone in Douglas County.
Nelson said he believes that the growth of valuation should be sufficient to make up the loss.
Heineman said state government has managed without increasing other taxes after eliminating the estate tax. That action has cost the state $115 million over four years.
“We didn't cry. We didn't complain,” he said. “We did what was the best tax policy for the state.”
A hearing on Legislative Bill 970, the governor's proposal to eliminate inheritance taxes, is set for Thursday before the Legislature's Revenue Committee.
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