Omaha Public Radio News
1:13 pm
Tue November 9, 2010

Group calls for repeal of Omaha's wheel tax on non-residents

Omaha, NE – A group of city council leaders from communities outside Omaha want the city to repeal its wheel tax on non-residents, or face a lawsuit.

The so-called Wheel Tax Committee is giving Omaha city officials two weeks to respond. Bellevue City Councilwoman Carol Blood is leading the Committee's efforts. She says they aren't challenging Omaha's ability to implement a wheel tax, because state law allows the city to do so. "But then state statute clearly says that you cannot take anything out of an employee's wages unless it is a state or federal law or mandated by court as in cases of garnishment." Blood says the Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled against cities several times when they've tried to withdraw a tax from pay checks that didn't meet those guidelines.

Omaha's ordinance states that the tax will be deducted from employees' pay checks. A small part of the money collected would go to employers to help cover the costs of implementation. Blood says the Wheel Tax Committee believes they would be successful if the case goes to court.

Omaha's wheel tax on non-residents is scheduled to take effect January first. City Council President Garry Gernandt says they'll take the matter under review.