As a taxpaying citizen, I am very concerned about the use of occupation taxes by cities as a way to increase the amount of sales tax they receive. First, Omaha started an occupation tax on all food and drink so it could bail out its new convention center when it did not generate as much sales tax as projected. Next, Lincoln adopted an occupation tax on food and beverage to help pay for a new arena.
Now the next step in the use of occupation tax is upon us. The Nebraska Crossing Outlet Mall is set to open soon. Gretna adopted an occupation tax on all sales, not just food and beverage, in this retail area so the developer could realize a greater return. If shoppers are thinking they are going to pay less by traveling to Nebraska Crossing, they may be shocked to see an extra 1.95 percent tax being added to their purchases.
And when do these occupation taxes end? Most of them will not. Taxpayers often are not given the opportunity to vote on the tax or if the tax should continue. Look at cellphone, utility and cable bills. It's likely an occupation tax is added.
The insanity of occupation taxes must end. The only way this will happen is if the citizens who are paying these outrageous taxes stand up and say enough is enough.
I urge people to contact their state senator to demand the repeal of the occupation tax statutes.
Let the leaders of our cities and state understand that an occupation tax is nothing more than an additional sales tax and that we do not like these taxes.
Gary Bush, La Vista