Editorial #51 On-going Tax Debate March 14, 2019
I have been in the business of listening for my entire career. I have spoken with thousands of people from all over North America as well as Nebraska, from both ends of the political spectrum. These interactions were very helpful, as I waded into the aspect of politics, essentially being on a listening tour for over a decade which doubled as a campaign for Nebraska Legislature.
Through my career and this past campaign, I learned there was a huge difference between hearing and listening just as there is a big difference between a monologue and a dialogue. Politicians have become very good at hearing and responding in monologue with few, if any, listening and having a dialogue with the true leaders of our state, “we, the people”.
The evidence of this conclusion is shown by the perpetual repetition of legislative bills and testimony. Little varies from hearings to hearings not to mention year to year with the only difference being the names and bill numbers. It is the repetitious monologue saying: “Taxes are too high and we must spend less.” All the proposed solutions contain a degree of self-interest and hypocrisy. Most say: “We cannot consider doing with less as that unwinds all the progress we made”. The other argument is: “This must be paid by someone else as I cannot afford any more tax burden.”
Of all the proposals made, they only address the symptom and never the real problem. LB 303, 314, 506, 507 and 508 are cases in point. These bills only make the bandage thicker and don’t fix the wound. The real problem is these tax proposals all violate one or all of the four core values that all laws must have. It must be fair, truthful, sustainable and have integrity. If not, it is a bad law and should not be given further consideration.
This filter was inadvertently ignored over of past decades, delivering us to this point, with the present tax situation unstainable, not to mention unfair with hidden agendas across the spectrum. These special interest are self-serving, by definition, ranging from the teacher’s unions to agriculture not to mention they span from the urban to rural areas across our state. In short everyone is included in this group of special interests, somehow.
The time tested consulting technique for solving any problem is: if the problem is perfectly defined, the solution is as simple as changing the question into a statement. The solution to the tax problem is: it must be fair, which means if the table were turned would everyone still agree. This does not mean everyone one will like the answer. It means no one has an advantage with the solution. Everyone’s situation is different, but if they were in the same situation, would they accept that solution?
The solution to our tax problem is a simple math problem. Define how much money the state needs to “live within its budget” and what is the fairest way to distribute the burden across the constituents of our state? The most equitable way is a state income tax and a state sales tax paid only by the citizens of the state, not businesses. Businesses should never pay the taxes anyway, it is always passed through to the consumer as a cost of goods.
Agriculture is a business like any other business and will need to structure itself accordingly. Sales tax should be only paid by the consumer and not by businesses. This would make Nebraska the most business friendly state in the Union and essentially address the problem of our young people leaving the state. Our young people simply want to live in the best place for them to make a good living. If the technology and infrastructure is comparable, there is no disadvantage to living anywhere with the only limitation being the limitations one places on one’s self.
This is Keith Kube wishing you the best in making the world a better place.
Feel free to contact Keith by going to his website www.keithkube.com for additional resource information under “Other Publications” or listen to past editorials. You will also find the links for contacting any of our State Senators along with links for the schedules of hearings and copies of all proposed bills under “Contacts”.