Nebraska lawmakers, on Tuesday, advanced a bill that would lead to reduction or repeal of the state’s county inheritance tax.

The chief executive officer of the Platte Institute, Jim Vokel, said Nebraska is one of just five states with such a tax.

"Unfortunately, we hold the distinguished honor of having the highest rates of the five states. This tax is imposed on the individual that inherits an estate. The farther you're removed from the person that has been deceased, the higher the rate gets."   

Spouses and children of the deceased pay 1% while non-blood relatives are taxed at 18%.

Madison County commissioner Troy Uhlir stressed that he and his colleagues use the inheritance tax to keep property taxes as low as possible.

"We use those funds to offset the budget. Many times in a year, like this year, we pulled $1.3 million out of the county inheritance tax to offset our levy which basically was three cents that we were able to keep the levy down. Had we not done that, we would need that three cents."

Uhlir said he and his fellow commissioners try to keep a balance of around $1 million from the inheritance tax in reserve. For example, he said following the 2019 flood, the county was able to use those reserves and therefore, did not have to bond money to repair bridges and roads.

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