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County board opposes ending inheritance tax

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

McCOOK, Nebraska -- Red Willow County commissioner Earl McNutt may have the opportunity Thursday to speak against Nebraska counties losing inheritance taxes.

The move to eliminate inheritance taxes by Gov. Dave Heineman and Omaha Sen. Abbie Cornett, who introduced Legislative Bill 970 ending the county inheritance tax, could affect some county budgets by millions of dollar annually, McNutt said. The Legislature's revenue committee plans a hearing Thursday, at 1:30 p.m., during which members of the Nebraska Association of County Officials (NACO) will speak against the bill.

According to the latest figures available from the NACO, of which Red Willow County is a member and McNutt is a board member, the state's 93 counties receive proceeds from the tax which amounted to nearly $42 million in 2007-08.

On Jan. 18, Gov. Heineman said that Nebraska is one of only eight states that have inheritance taxes. He sees the elimination of inheritance taxes as tax relief for Nebraska's middle class. Counties officials, however, are afraid they will have to raise taxes to make up for the lost revenue.

Red Willow County commissioner Steve Downer called this a "fund-raiser" for the state of Nebraska, eventually costing the state's taxpayers money.

A Douglas County budget official told the Omaha World-Herald, "I think the governor is doing this so he can say he cut taxes without having to cut services for the state."

Red Willow County uses its inheritance tax fund as a savings account, dipping into it to offset shortfalls in funds within the county budget. Over the past five years, the county has accessed $1 million in inheritance taxes.

McNutt said counties don't charge for their services, and have very few avenues for revenue other than taxes, such as real estate taxes, inheritance taxes and, in some counties, sale taxes. "The cost of doing business doesn't ever get cheaper," he said.

The state has proposed in the past to take inheritance taxes away, one proposal rerouting them into state coffers and then back to counties. Commissioner Steve Downer said this last proposal goes further than any other proposal -- "the funds won't come back to the counties."

Fellow commissioner Vesta Dack called inheritance taxes "a survival tool" for small counties.

"If the state doesn't provide a way to recoup these taxes, they're lost."

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Maybe the time has come for the county to implement a planning and zoning approach to addressing revenue alternatives.

I believe Mr. McNutt would have had a slightly different approach to the recent Subdivision Approval north of town if a set of county approved guidelines had been in place prior to the application process beginning.

Something to think about.

-- Posted by Geezer on Tue, Jan 24, 2012, at 2:25 PM

Inheritance Tax is just plain wrong. If a person or family works their entire life scrimping and saving for their future and their family's future, you should be able to pass it on to family without the county or anyone else having their hands out. A person goes through their entire life paying taxes. We are already taxed to "death". Has anyone actually sat down and figured out how many times we are taxed on the same dollars? Income tax; sales tax; occupation tax; state tax; capital gains tax, real estate taxes, etc. etc. You buy something, you are taxed. You sell it, you pay taxes....Then the biggest insult of all....is you are employed, you employee others (the American way)...then you die and you pay again! I say listen to your constituents, get rid of unwarranted taxation!

-- Posted by ThinkBeforeYouPost on Tue, Jan 24, 2012, at 3:52 PM

thank you thinkbefore,

why sohould paris hilton have to pay inhertance tax? She has worked hard.

-- Posted by president obama on Tue, Jan 24, 2012, at 10:51 PM

Dear government,

What makes you think you have any right to someone's money? What make theft by the government any more right than you stealing it for yourself? Just shows how gutless you really are, the very definition of a politician.

-- Posted by jawalker61 on Wed, Jan 25, 2012, at 7:29 AM

I don't like taxes any more than anyone else, but how do you suppose streets and highways are maintained? How is law enforcement and emergency services, including rural fire and rural medical emergency, provided?

It must come from somewhere.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Wed, Jan 25, 2012, at 5:47 PM

I agree with ThinkBeforeYouPost . What right does any government - Federal, State, County have to get a piece of a persons lifelong portfolio when they die. To make budgets and comments about losing money and being a "survival tool" on the death of a person!!! How utterly impersonal!! Remember that someones Father, Mother, brother, sister etc has died and you (government) are waiting outside the funeral parlor to get some of their money. What about the persons heirs?? What about their survival? Pure buzzards sitting on a tree waiting for something for nothing. I do not mind the other taxes I pay, but the inheritance tax I find predatory at the very least.

-- Posted by Ed on Thu, Jan 26, 2012, at 3:16 AM

Nick..my point is that you pay the county real estate taxes on your property and if you make any nice improvements, then you are assessed more. Then we pay personal property taxes on equipment. This is while you are paying the bank interest so that you can buy the real estate, etc. I feel that all of us have paid our share of taxes while we are alive (which pays for the roads, rural fire, rural medical emergency, etc.)The deceased family members should NOT have to pay the county again. The same taxes that they were assessing prior to the owner's death (real estate, personal property, etc.) will not cease. The County will continue to collect these taxes from the heirs. They basically are double-dipping---getting the inheritance tax and the continued taxes.

-- Posted by ThinkBeforeYouPost on Thu, Jan 26, 2012, at 8:49 AM

I understand ThinkB4, and I don't disagree, but then there are those that find real estate taxes offending, no one wants to pay income tax, in reality, the only tax that I truly don't mind is a City Sales Tax, because as a rule, there is a specific goal intended for the tax and it generally isn't shuffled about to make up wage increases and such.

You're taxed for working, taxed for living (real estate and sales tax) and taxed for die'n.... Its a tough old world out there.

I hear that there are places in Mexico that are ultimately tax free.... If you can survive the water.... No water purification systems in the mix, but hey.... You can't ha e everything I suppose.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Thu, Jan 26, 2012, at 9:57 PM

Get taxed while you work, pay tax on the money you save that was taxed while you work. Pay tax on property eternally, with the money that you saved that was taxed while you work. Retire...get taxed on the retirement annual income, on the money that you saved, after paying property tax, that you were taxed on while you worked. Die, get taxed on what's left over..god forbid you didn't get forced into a retirement home...which then charges you astronomical amounts to live...from the money that you retired with while being taxed...after already being taxed on the money that you saved, and paid tax while saving, that was taxed while you worked.

Then...Pay tax to purchase, use, rent, serve...while borrowing against the thought that you may have money left from the money that was taxed while you worked, and taxed while attempting to save, that was taxed while you worked...


-- Posted by cplcac on Tue, Jan 31, 2012, at 5:40 PM

Mexico for you then cplcac? Adios amigo!

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Tue, Jan 31, 2012, at 7:18 PM

.......Inheritance Tax is double dipping...they will still get the taxes from the living heirs (real estate taxes, personal property taxes, etc...etc.)

-- Posted by ThinkBeforeYouPost on Wed, Feb 1, 2012, at 8:26 AM

Well see Nick. Go ahead and ride the storm out, and avoid demanding change.

-- Posted by cplcac on Wed, Feb 1, 2012, at 4:42 PM

Please tell me that THIS isn't your only method of reprisal cplcac. If it is, then I wouldn't expect much change from your efforts either.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Fri, Feb 3, 2012, at 12:27 AM

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