Transparency sought for Nebraska tax incentives

Aug 31, 2013

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers are looking for a better way to gauge whether tax incentives for businesses actually work, and whether the investment is worth the cost.

Lawmakers repeatedly pushed for answers Friday in a joint committee hearing with State Tax Commissioner Doug Ewald.

Ewald says nearly half of the companies that apply for tax credits never qualify because they fail to meet the state's investment and job-creation requirements. Yet those companies still created thousands of jobs.

In February, a legislative panel reported that Nebraska has no way to judge whether its business tax incentives have succeeded in attracting businesses, or whether the companies would have come regardless.

The Revenue Committee chairman, Senator Galen Hadley, says the challenge for lawmakers is to keep Nebraska competitive with states that offer tax breaks.

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