Nebraska tax facts

I must ask William Reynek (May 14 Pulse, “Omaha’s ever-higher taxes”) if he ever thought about perhaps re-evaluating his voting history. His past votes may have contributed to the huge tax inequality he complains of.

Does he know that:

(1) In Nebraska, anyone earning income of $31,160 is paying the same marginal tax rate of 6.84% as someone earning $1 million or greater?

(2) Nebraska’s corporate tax rate, after numerous deductions and credits, is at best 7.81% followed by 18 states with a higher rate.

(3) Nebraska’s immediate relative inheritance tax rate is 1% of any amount over $40,000.

(4) Nebraska’s long-term and short-term capital gains tax rate is the same as the state’s income tax rate, or 6.84% of anything over $31,160.

(5) Nebraska state funding for public schools ranks at or near the bottom in the nation.

(6) Or wondered about the absentee immediate relative living in, let us say Arizona or Florida, who over time has enjoyed the “homestead exemption,” selling a piece of farm or ranchland in Nebraska 150 times greater than the original purchase price. And only paying 1% on anything over $40,000 while the surrounding neighbors must absorb huge increases in their property valuation and property tax levy while forcing public schools to lose their state equalization payments.

(7) Or realizes Nebraska’s current tax laws all favor the state’s wealthiest while continuing to further shift the tax burden onto the backs of the state’s working households and fixed-income retirees.

Ah, yes, isn’t Dr. Einstein’s definition of “insanity” great?

Alvin Guenther, Dunbar, Neb.

Day care decision is troubling

I live in Nebraska and saw the meat plant debacle coming. But now, occurring primarily in Nebraska’s cities, we may have an impending crisis exponentially more serious than those packing plants will ever be. Our governor’s latest move is apt to infect and/or kill more people. With Nebraska’s livestock plants having created one of the nation’s faster-growing elements of this nation’s pandemic, our governor has found a substitute — perhaps spurring the next tranche of Nebraska’s pandemic growth.

How? By deciding to immediately open Nebraska’s day care businesses with social distancing impossible and a limit of 15 untested children per room, probably having the practical effect of sending a large number of exposed and untested asymptomatic children (many ages 2 to 5) back into their families and neighborhoods — or to Grandma’s house for a visit.

With 15 kids in a single room and social distancing being impossible, a number of day care employees are quitting their $18-an-hour jobs in order to protect their own lives. In order to counteract this shortage, Gov. Ricketts changed the maximum density from 10 to 15 children per room.

Utilizing children to destroy the lives of their family members in this manner is so heinous and immoral I can’t even begin to imagine that kind of mind — though it will get some of the workers back on the job, perhaps with paid time off for the hospital visits and funerals that follow.

Terry Niver, Omaha

Help for Alzheimer’s

The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges for more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers, the research community and the nonprofits serving these vulnerable populations.

My grandfather passed away 15 years ago due to Alzheimer’s disease. A former Naval aviator and head of design staff at General Motors, he was slowly robbed by Alzheimer’s of his knowledge, his memories and eventually his life. This heartbreaking experience helped me understand the impact of these diseases on families across America. Thankfully, Congress can act to help during the COVID-19 crisis by including provisions to support the community in the next economic relief package.

Individuals living with dementia are especially vulnerable during this time, so it is essential to protect them from abuse and neglect, and ensure that family caregivers have necessary care planning resources. The Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Protect Elder Abuse Act and the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act would address these issues.

Finally, the need for services and support from nonprofits has continued to increase, despite those same nonprofits facing significant economic hardships. Congress must establish a fund to support nonprofits with 500 to 10,000 employees, including loan forgiveness to ensure charities like the Alzheimer’s Association can continue to effectively serve our communities.

These bipartisan policies will benefit millions of families affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias, who face significant challenges during this crisis. Please join me and the Alzheimer’s Association in encouraging Congressman Don Bacon to include these policies in the next COVID-19 pandemic relief package.

Terry Streetman, Omaha

director of public policy and advocacy, Alzheimer’s Association, Nebraska Chapter

Obama sanctimony

Like millions of Americans I have been enjoying the ESPN documentary series “The Last Dance” about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. However, one segment I didn’t enjoy at all was once again being subjected to Barack Obama’s sanctimonious hubris. It seems that as great as Michael Jordan was at his chosen craft, he didn’t quite live up to Barack’s standards when it comes to political activism.

Michael Jordan isn’t alone when it comes to the world according to Barack Obama. For eight years we had to hear about the countless ways that we as Americans were falling short, that we just weren’t good enough, and if we disagreed with his policies it must be attributed to racism. It caused great divisiveness and resentment throughout the country that still lingers today. Another thing it did was propel Donald Trump into the presidency; that is Barack Obama’s legacy.

This experiment in self-government is ongoing and far from perfect. But I can assure you of one thing: Pinning your hopes and dreams on the false worship of a politician will leave you disappointed 100% of the time. This utopia they speak of while spinning their self-serving political rhetoric does not exist. Take inventory of your life and start doing what needs to be done to improve it, whatever your circumstances. No politician has a magic solution for you.

Ed Leahy, Omaha

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