BEATRICE – The Nebraska Legislature has advanced a bill that would allow Gage County to enact a half-cent sales tax to help pay the court-ordered Beatrice Six judgment of $28.1 million dollars. The vote today, was 40-1.
If given final approval, it would add revenue to the property taxes Gage County is using to pay off the judgment. Senator Myron Dorn proposed LB 472, narrowing the scope through an amendment to tighten use of the sales tax.
:37 “it is owed”
Senator Ernie Chambers credited Dorn for coming up with a practical way to solve a financial problem that has saddled Gage County.
:46 “that judgment”
Using only property taxes, it was estimated it will take Gage County about eight years to pay off the civil rights judgment, rendered by a federal court.
Chambers used the debate to resume his opposition to the death penalty, which he says was a factor in how the judgment originated.
:28 “save their life”
Two amendments Dorn offered to the bill both passed without a single no vote. Under one amendment, it would require a two-thirds vote of the county board….or at least five members, to enact the half-cent sales tax in the county.
Another amendment narrowed the scope of the tax, so that it could only be used to pay off a federal judgment, for a limited amount of time.
This past year, Gage County raised its’ property tax requirement to the maximum 50-cent limit to begin paying the Beatrice Six judgment, after appeals and a rejection by the U.S. Supreme Court exhausted avenues for the county.