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Sen. Steve Erdman

Sen. Steve Erdman

District 47

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Straight Talk From Steve…
September 21st, 2020

 

In last week’s article I said I would introduce you to what I am calling the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights that I will begin outlining today will be included in legislation I will introduce in January for the consumption tax. The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights consists of ten rights or protections which ought to be afforded every taxpayer in the State of Nebraska.

The first right in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights states, “The citizens of Nebraska are entitled to a fair tax system, one which favors neither the poor nor the rich, neither rural dwellers nor urban dwellers, neither business owners nor laborers, and that is no respecter of race, religion, creed, or sex.”

The operative word in this first taxpayer right is the word ‘fair.’ Fairness is rightly defined as equality under the law. In other words, fairness occurs when everybody gets treated the same or equally, regardless of such things as one’s place of residence, occupation, race, religion, creed or sex. Fairness in this context stands in contrast to social justice theory, which seeks to rectify the past wrongs of society.

When fairness is applied to tax systems, the goal becomes to create the kind of tax system which affects everyone in the same way without inhibiting their upward mobility. A tax system that is fair is one that does not punish a person simply for earning a modest living. In short, Nebraskans need the kind of tax system which encourages everyone to save their money, invest for the future, and plan for retirement. The consumption tax is the only tax system known to economists which encourages savings, inspires investing, and enables retirement. In other words, everyone benefits from the consumption tax, including those who live below the federal poverty line.

The citizens of Nebraska are entitled to a tax system which promotes prosperity instead of poverty. In other words, we need the kind of tax that ends. For instance, the income tax continuously punishes people simply for making money, the property tax continuously punishes people for owning property, and even after a person dies the inheritance tax is waiting there to punish a person after death simply for handing down that property to the next generation. That’s a continuous triple tax system which never ends, even after death! What makes the consumption tax fundamentally different from these other kinds of taxes is that the consumption tax has an end to it. A person only gets taxed once, at the initial point of sale and that’s it! And that is why I can say that the consumption tax promotes prosperity instead of poverty.

In Federalist Paper #30 Alexander Hamilton warned the American people against certain evils of taxation. One such evil, he said, occurs when the people are “subjected to continual plunder.” That is precisely what our State’s current tax code does. Nebraska’s current tax code discriminates against everyone, except the super-rich. Therefore, the time has come for the people to shed this burden from our backs and replace our tax code with a system which is fair to all Nebraskans.

The Declaration of Independence asserted that all men are created equal and have the inalienable right to pursue happiness. Therefore, nothing should ever hinder a person’s right to pursue happiness, especially when such a pursuit includes upward mobility. When it comes to the pursuit of happiness, everyone should be entitled to the same kind of tax system, and that tax system should not punish people for improving their standard of living. The consumption tax is no respecter of a person’s place of residence, career choice, race, religion, creed or sex. Everyone has the same opportunity for advancement under the consumption tax, and that is why I like it so much.

Sen. Steve Erdman

District 47
Room #1124
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2616
Email: serdman@leg.ne.gov
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