Omaha looks at other options for sales tax increase

Omaha, NE – Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle is looking at other options to get a half-cent sales tax increase before the voters.

The Omaha City Council voted 3-3 Tuesday on a request to put the sales tax increase in the city's 2010 Legislative package. That means it won't be included in the legislation city officials want passed. A half-cent sales tax is one of three options proposed by the Pension Task Force to meet obligations in the city's underfunded pension system. A half-cent tax could generate $45 million a year.

Ron Gerard is spokesman for Mayor Jim Suttle's office. Gerard says Suttle is now working with the League of Nebraska Municipalities on the issue. Suttle hopes that group will back legislation giving all Nebraska cities the right to put a sales tax increase before the voters.

Gerard says if the city is unsuccessful in its effort to get a sales tax increase, the other options are a garbage fee or a property tax increase. In September, the City Council approved a 4.2 cent property tax increase to pay down debt.