With all the talk about Gov. Jim Pillen’s big push to cut property taxes by 40 percent this year, you may have missed talk of another tax cutting plan, one Pillen opposes.

It’s the so-called EPIC plan and backers are in the final four weeks of a statewide petition drive to put it on the ballot in November.


A statewide petition drive is underway to change the state Constitution and upend Nebraska’s tax system, a move critics argue will help the rich and hurt the poor.

It’s known as EPIC: The elimination of property, income, and corporate taxes.

Joe Jordan, NCN: “That is, to say the least, upsetting the apple cart.”

State Sen. Steve Erdman, Bayard (R): “It’s time for us to replace those who collect and spend our tax dollars being in first place and put in place those who pay the taxes.”

Jordan: “No other state in the union has done this. Doesn’t that indicate that it’s a bit precarious to take this step?”

Erdman: “No, not at all. Because if you’re not the lead dog the scenery never changes. This is a fair, transparent, and open tax system that people will be able to understand and will pay that rather than trying to avoid it.”

State Sen. Steve Erdman, one of the leaders of this tax revolution, replacing those property, income, and corporate taxes with a 7.5 percent consumption tax, taxing almost all goods and services other than food.

Jordan: “Build a new house that’s taxed, buy an existing house that’s not.”

Erdman: “That’s correct. A consumption tax is collected the first time someone buys something new for their own personal use or hires a service for their use. A sales tax is collected every time something sells.”

Jordan: “If nothing else you’ve managed to bring together sides that usually don’t agree on things.”

Take the conservative Platte Institute and progressive Open Sky, two Nebraska think tanks convinced that the EPIC tax plan won’t raise enough to pay for good schools, safe streets, and more. They testified against EPIC at a state hearing last year.

Rebecca Firestone, Open Sky: “Our analysis shows this proposal would require a much higher rate to be revenue neutral than is proposed.”

And they weren’t alone.

Bryan Sloan, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce: “My sense is and our sense all along has been that because it wouldn’t raise enough revenue. The first thing that would have to happen is the tax would have to be raised to double digits.”

Erdman: “They have based their opinion on something they have made up.”

And Erdman says he’s heard higher numbers, that just aren’t true.

Erdman: “That it’s going to be 15-20-22 percent and they absolutely have no information and no verification for their rate.”

And yes, Open Sky insists, “The consumption tax …would require a rate of 22.1 percent to be revenue neutral,” adding the wealthy get off easy while, “The tax would have a far greater impact on low-and middle-income households.” Their source is the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, labeled by many as liberal.

Erdman’s source for his 7-and-a-half percent number?

Erdman: “We have solicited help from the Beacon Hill Institute twice.”

Beacon Hill, well known among conservatives.

One of its top endorsers, Steven Moore, the Senior Economic Advisor to the Trump campaign.

The EPIC group needs roughly 123,000 valid signatures by early July in order to make the November ballot.