A new AARP survey of 807 Nebraskans age 18 and over shows that two-thirds are concerned about the fairness of state and local taxes. The report also finds little support for lower-income taxpayers shouldering a heavier tax burden than upper-income taxpayers.
In the survey released today, 65 percent of respondents describe the tax system as not too fair or not at all fair. Twenty-four percent find the system to be somewhat fair and only 5 percent say it is extremely or very fair.
Responses to a follow-up question provide insight on the direction that Nebraskans believe policy makers should pursue to improve the fairness of the state and local tax structure. When given three options for adjusting the tax burden, only three percent of respondents said that lower-income taxpayers should pay a higher percentage of their income than higher-income taxpayers.
Nearly half of respondents (46 percent) believe that all taxpayers should pay exactly the same percentage of state and local income taxes regardless of their income, while 44 percent believe that higher- income tax payers should pay a higher percentage of their income for state and local taxes than lower- income taxpayers.
“The survey is consistent with conversations we have had with groups of AARP members,” said Mark Intermill, advocacy director for AARP Nebraska. “We find very few people who believe that the status quo of lower- income Nebraskans paying a higher percentage of their income for taxes is fair.”
Currently, Nebraskans with incomes in the lowest 20 percent pay about 11 percent of their income for state and local taxes. Nebraskans with incomes in the top one percent pay less than six percent of their income for those taxes.
AARP sought the opinions of Nebraskans in advance of the upcoming legislative session. A majority report of the Tax Modernization Committee included 12 tax policy recommendations including several that would provide tax relief for families with modest incomes.
“The recent recommendations of the Tax Modernization Committee reflect the opinions of Nebraskans,” Intermill said. “On balance, AARP believes that the recommendations would achieve the type of tax fairness that respondents to our survey indicated they support.”
The AARP telephone survey of 807 Nebraskans age 18 plus was conducted from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2, 2013 by Woelfel Research, Inc. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent.
The survey will be available at http://www.aarp.org/money/taxes/info-11-2013/2013-aarp-annotated-survey-and-methodology-of-nebraska-resident-.html. It can also be found at: http://states.aarp.org/aarp-tax-survey-two-thirds-dont-believe-ne-state-local-taxes-fair/