Broken cars one thing, broken tax system another

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

In general, modern cars are more reliable than ever, lasting hundreds of thousands of miles with reasonable maintenance and provided drivers don't get in an accident.

Drive any car long enough, and something's going to wear out, probably at the most inconvenient time, and need to be repaired.

When that happens, RepairPal has some good news: Nebraska is one of the cheapest states in which to get your car repaired.

Using three common repairs, the RepairPal institute ranked Nebraska as No. 9 in the U.S. for "Most Affordable Auto Repairs."

Researchers averaged the cost to repair a water pump and alternator, and replace brake pads on three popular 2010 car models, a Ford F-150, Honda Accord and BMW 328i in range of zip codes across the United States.

Those repairs cost an average of $1,131 in Nebraska, ninth least expensive behind West Virginia with $1,033, Kentucky $1,087, Arkansas $1,088, Wyoming $1,095, Mississippi $1,102, Oklahoma $1,122; Main $1,125 and Idaho $1,130.

Alaska was the most expensive with $1,374; and Kansas ranked 22nd highest with $1,181.

It's good that Nebraskans get a bit of break when it comes to car repairs, because they definitely don't when it comes to income and taxes.

WalletHub compared various tax rates among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of the national average consumer's income and spending habits.

The results? Nebraska is 50th worst in the overall effective state and local tax rate.

That's 24th in income taxes, 32nd worst in sales and excise taxes, 37th in vehicle property taxes and 45th in real-estate taxes.

Only Illinois is worse, according to WalletHub.

Kansas ranks 41, Colorado 12, Wyoming 4, South Dakota 16, Iowa 43 and Missouri 30.

Gov. Pete Ricketts drew criticism for a postcard mailing touting the State Property Tax Credit program, which was launched under Gov. Dave Heineman in 2007 and increased by 45 percent last year. Taxpayers were billed for $274,000 to be informed that they were going to share in a $204 million tax rebate from the state.

Part of the criticism was that the cards created confusion among some property owners who thought they needed to do something to get the credit.

Ricketts submitted a plan for property tax relief, but little if any of it is likely to survive this legislative session. He's correct in saying the only way to provide real tax relief is to limit government spending.

While it's relatively painless to fix your car in Nebraska, the same can't be said for paying your taxes.

Check out the WalletHub report here.

Check out the RepairPal report here: here.

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