Removing Barriers for Nebraskans

School Choice is Essential, And Nebraska’s Tax Credit Is About as Freeing as It Gets

School Choice is Essential, And Nebraska’s Tax Credit Is About as Freeing as It Gets

Educational freedom – often reduced to “school choice” – is expanding nationwide, and Nebraska joined in last year with passage of the Opportunity Scholarship Act. This occurred, perhaps not coincidentally, as school districts and states all over the country were being racked by culture war. The need for freedom in education – self-determination that ends...

By Neal McCluskey

Property tax relief should focus on cutting school levies

Property tax relief should focus on cutting school levies

Governor Jim Pillen seeks to cut Nebraska property taxes by 40% through a tax package that includes raising new state tax revenues in order to fund local property tax cuts. Gov. Pillen seeks $2 billion in new property tax relief balanced against $5.3 billion in total property taxes. In Platte Institute’s assessment of the options...

By Michael Lucci

The unintended consequences of cigarette tax increases

The unintended consequences of cigarette tax increases

Sin taxes are levied on products that are believed to have a societal cost. And tobacco products are a frequent target for sin taxes. Yet ironically, high cigarette taxes create their own societal costs because they result in illicit interstate smuggling and criminal behavior. A pack of cigarettes in Chicago includes a whopping $7.16 in...

By Michael Lucci

Accountants, electricians, and market equilibrium

Accountants, electricians, and market equilibrium

The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups. —Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (1946)   For over half a century, policymakers have addressed...

By Laura Ebke

Consumer Power: The Rising Demand for Repairable Electronics

Consumer Power: The Rising Demand for Repairable Electronics

As the 2024 session passes the one-third complete mark, it’s worth reflecting on one issue that isn’t on the table this year: the right to repair consumer technology. Although Nebraska was in the national spotlight when it debated the credibility of such a policy a few years ago, it will not be on the table...

By Lance Pounds

Federalism Rankings

Federalism Rankings

Two months ago, we made note of the Cato Institute’s Freedom ranking, which places Nebraska towards the bottom (at 38th) of the 50-state analysis of freedom components.  A new ranking system—a “Federalism Scorecard”  has just been released by the Center for Practical Federalism, and Nebraska’s ranking on that index is even lower—at 43rd.  This latest...

By Laura Ebke

Keep prices low and businesses competitive by avoiding taxation on business purchases

Keep prices low and businesses competitive by avoiding taxation on business purchases

A well-structured retail sales tax raises revenue with minimal distortion to economic decision-making.  While the income tax creates a disincentivize to work, save, and invest, the sales tax does not create these disincentives. Therefore, the retail sales tax raises revenue with comparably less economic cost than income taxes.   Nebraska’s retail sales tax ranks #9 for...

By Michael Lucci

Governor Pillen’s Property Tax Plans: Options and Tradeoffs

Governor Pillen’s Property Tax Plans: Options and Tradeoffs

Governor Pillen has pitched a sequel to his historic 2023 income tax cuts. The 2023 reforms slashed top income tax rates by a third, and for his 2024 follow-up, Pillen has proposed cutting property taxes by 40% across Nebraska.  When lawmakers convened in Lincoln in the spring of 2023, they had surpluses on hand for...

By Michael Lucci

Governor Jim Pillen’s Tax Triumphs and the Future of Tax Reform

Governor Jim Pillen’s Tax Triumphs and the Future of Tax Reform

Governor Jim Pillen inherited a historic opportunity for tax reform in Nebraska. Revenues surged during the pandemic recovery, creating unprecedented surpluses for the Cornhusker State. Nebraska leaders had maintained years of disciplined spending, setting the table for Pillen’s plan.  Gov. Pillen was the man for the moment in 2023, and he delivered a transformational tax...

By Michael Lucci

Nebraskanomics: David Brunori on Good Tax Policy

Nebraskanomics: David Brunori on Good Tax Policy

Tune in to the latest episode of Nebraskanomics as we welcome economist, author, and tax policy expert David Brunori. During the episode David and Platte Institute Chief Strategy Officer Jim Smith talk about recent national public policy trends, as well as known and rumored proposals in the Cornhusker State to restructure the tax code and...

Principles of Good Tax Policy

Principles of Good Tax Policy

I recently had the opportunity of catching up with David Brunori whom I worked with extensively on the Blueprint Nebraska Tax Modernization plan. David is nationally known as a journalist, author, educator, and lawyer who specializes in state and local tax policy.   In our podcast hosted by Jim Vokal and the Platte Institute, David and...

By Jim Smith

Full Expensing for Nebraska in 2024

Full Expensing for Nebraska in 2024

Full expensing is the ideal tax policy to help Nebraska catalyze economic growth, attract capital investment, and re-shore supply chains in 2024.  Full expensing allows a business to write off the cost of new investment immediately rather than spreading out investment cost recovery over as long as 20 years. It is a subtle change that...

By Michael Lucci

The Creative Disruption of Digital Wallets and Chinese Direct-to-Consumer Marketplaces in Holiday Shopping

The Creative Disruption of Digital Wallets and Chinese Direct-to-Consumer Marketplaces in Holiday Shopping

The concept of ‘creative destruction’, coined by economist Joseph Schumpeter, where innovative market changes lead to the downfall of older, less efficient business models, aptly describes the transformative impact of technology on holiday shopping.   While shopping habits during the rest of the year guided the market trends, consumers’ habits during the holiday seasons significantly influenced...

By Lance Pounds