Thursday, August 8, 2013

If It Ain't Broke...

As our regular readers know, our staff tends to travel a good bit, both nationally and internationally. No matter where we go, we often end up running into other Nebraskans, and we'll often end up discussing topics near and dear to our hearts, like Husker sports or Lincoln's Haymarket development, or our favorite Nebraska restaurants like Valentino's, Misty's, and Runza. Of course, most true Nebraskans also know our home state's unofficial motto: "If it ain't broke, don't 'fix' it."

We mention that unofficial motto and the other Nebraska bona fides today, in light of the latest developments this week from the Nebraska Tax Modernization Committee.

As we've pointed out more than once this year, it's obvious that Gov. Heineman would prefer the Nebraska Tax Modernization Committee simply rubber stamp his plan to eliminate Nebraska's income tax - a plan that's not only unnecessary, but frankly unworkable. Those facts haven't seemed to matter to the Governor, though, or to other special interest groups, like the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce.

Like a mechanic with his eye on your car and his mind on your wallet, no matter what the facts say, supporters of scrapping Nebraska's income tax have kept pushing to "fix" a system that didn't need fixing – a very un-Nebraskan way of thinking.

So it was with both surprise and and satisfaction that we noted the news coming out of Nebraska's Tax Modernization Committee this week, specifically from the committee's head, State Sen. Galen Hadley of Kearney. If you're unfamiliar with the former mayor of Kearney, Hadley has a long history of siding with both the Governor and the Chamber, especially on matters that involve tax cuts.

Hadley went into this weeks meetings a proponent of eliminating the state's income tax. Yet, after climbing under the metaphorical hood of the state's budget with other members of the Committee and tax experts from all over the nation, Hadley admitted that Nebraska's tax system didn't really need much fixing after all.

That doesn't mean the Cornhusker state's tax system couldn't do with some tweaks - for example, eliminating tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals that aren't truly benefitting the state's citizens. That also doesn't mean that extremists like 2014 gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Charlie Janssen aren't going to prance around Nebraska, holding their own events to try to convince Nebraskans to do something major with their state tax system that just doesn't need to be done.

Still, Sen. Hadley appears to have joined other members of the committee like Sen. Pete Pirsch of Omaha who seem to have stayed pretty close to Nebraska's unofficial motto - and who deserve at least a note of praise from us in these digital pages for their wise caution.

After all, as all true Nebraskans know, if it ain't broke, don't "fix" it.