Nebraskans value the good life that we have worked to create in this state and many of the positive things about our state are the result of thoughtful collective investments that have been made over generations.
Voices for Children opposes LB 1097 and LB 721 because the income tax cuts contained in these bills primarily benefit higher income Nebraskans and the bills would create a significant budget shortfall without a way to pay for it.
In general, Voices for Children is not opposed to cutting taxes but we believe that tax cuts should be better targeted toward Nebraska’s low and middle income working families who are struggling to make ends meet. We also believe that any tax cuts that would create a significant budget shortfall should identify how the revenue loss will be accounted for. Because these bills do not contain any proposals to address the budget shortfall, we can only assume that the intention is to pay for the shortfall with cuts to programs and services. Many of these programs like public education and Medicaid are vital to the quality of life for our state’s children and are not possible without stable revenue.
For my own knowledge, I looked back at the 2014 budget to see what it would take in cuts to make up for a shortfall of $394 million, which was the original estimate provided by Open Sky Policy Institute on the fiscal impact of the bill. As you know, the fiscal estimate by the fiscal office is much larger once the cuts are fully implemented. The attached chart shows a fraction of what you would have to cut from the budget in children’s services to make room for tax cuts going primarily to wealthier Nebraskans.
We have a responsibility to the next generation of Nebraskans to work to continue and improve on the good life in Nebraska and LB 1097 does not help move us forward in that regard.