Skip the property tax
State and local taxes should be fair and painless as possible and should not adversely distort the economic system. They also should be easy to implement. The principal taxes used in Nebraska today are sales, real estate and income.
The sales tax is reasonably fair. Everyone buys things to the extent of their ability and pays at the same rate. It is painless, because it mostly is in small amounts. It does have an effect on the economic system, being a form of economic friction. It can also be said to be inflationary, since it increases the price of all goods taxed.
Real estate tax is perhaps a little less fair because different people pay widely different amounts. The tax is unfair since some people (farmers, for instance) pay tax on income producing property. It is also difficult to implement. An assessors services are necessary, entailing a lot of controversy.
Income tax can be fair if the rates are fair. Income tax can have minimum interference with the economic system, since people are free to spend their money without regards to the effect on this tax. The tax is easy to implement.
I suggest that real estate tax be eliminated, and the burden placed on income. This move would be fairer, better for the economic system and easier to implement.
David Purdy, Omaha
Exempt homes from taxes
On the issue of cutting taxes: One thing you can do for tax relief immediately in Nebraska is to provide home exemption. Everybody who owns their home should qualify.
It shouldn’t matter how much you make or how old you are. If you own your home and it is your primary residence, you should qualify. Period.
Stephen Guy, Alliance, Neb.
Grateful for health care
I think the Nebraska Medical Center’s high placement in Newsweek’s recent ranking of the world’s best hospitals is a well-earned distinction. The medical center has done a great job of keeping me alive and healthy since I moved back to Nebraska five years ago.
As a self-employed person with a preexisting condition, I hasten to add that it is the Affordable Care Act that enables my treatment at this excellent facility. I will always be grateful to President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson for that, and I will always do what I can to protect and strengthen the ACA.
Kerry Tupper, Omaha
Better use of time, money
Jeffrey Robb’s “Forging a path for future cycling commuters” (May 18 World-Herald) states that the bicycle ride from Millard to downtown Omaha took two hours. If so, that’s four hours round trip.
With a car, that trip would take about 30 minutes each way. With the three hours saved by using a car, I could get in a good hour exercising, another hour’s worth of work and an hour talking with my friends and family.
Time is precious, and while I certainly do not want to rain on any bikers’ parade, I not only do not want to follow their path, but I hopefully won’t be required to pay more taxes to subsidize their activities. I would guess that I am not alone in thinking this.
Douglas B. Rasmussen, Omaha
Grateful for mayor
Recently, The World-Herald had an article about Mayor Jean Stothert unveiling several grants totaling $75,000 that will be awarded to organizations, including the Aksarben, Benson and Elkhorn neighborhood groups.
This is an excellent and much-needed investment into the local communities. It is a great start for people to meet different members of our community and to build a healthy bond between all who reside in the heart of Omaha.
Any capacity of funding is helpful and is always appreciated. I am grateful for our mayor and the local officials who are striving to make Omaha a better place.
John Horsechief, Omaha
Omaha’s streets a disgrace
Recently there has been a movement to garner support for a possible recall effort against Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.
My family and I have lived in Omaha for 14 years. Stothert has done an amazing job turning this city into one of the Midwest’s best places to live and work.
She consistently puts the needs of Omaha and its citizens first, from retaining the best police chief this city has had in decades to revitalizing the Gene Leahy Mall and the riverfront, while tackling the endless snow removal issues that seem to crop up every time a flake falls from the sky.
Her Achilles’ heel seems to be the street maintenance throughout Omaha. Omaha’s streets are a disgrace. Drive two minutes outside of Omaha’s limits, and you will immediately notice the difference. Omaha’s road issues cannot be blamed on the weather. This spring’s catastrophic flooding only exacerbated the problems. How can the mayor invest so much time and energy in building up this great city but let the street infrastructure deteriorate?
People are not worried about plastic bags blowing around but about avoiding the craters that are everywhere, damaging cars and putting stressed incomes to the limit. I do see Stothert’s future as Omaha’s mayor in serious jeopardy if she does not come up with a solution very soon.
Michelle D. Derus, Omaha
Bugged by error
I’ll bet I’m not the only person that points this out, but there is a vast difference between an etymologist and an entomologist. And all of the etymologists (who study the history and derivation of words) who read “More gunk on your car” (May 18 World-Herald) will likely be writing. The entomologists (who study insects) will also likely write, but they won’t find this as funny, so their tone might be hard to endure.
Michael Osborn, La Vista
Death row and martyrs
Why do liberals always like to point out that capital punishment is not a deterrent to murder?
I would say that the purpose is to provide justice for the victim and to permanently rid society of someone who would commit such an act.
If there were no death penalty, what is going to stop an inmate who is serving a life sentence from killing a guard or fellow inmate?
Chris Lewis, Omaha