FILE - Retail sales tax cash register

(The Center Square) – A new report called Blueprint Nebraska presents a plan to maintain the state’s prosperity and continue “growing the good life.”

The report by the non-profit group The Platte Institute calls for "tax modernization", increased rural broadband service and expanded housing.

“The plan avoids pyramiding and taxing business inputs but it does expand Nebraska’s sales tax base,” Jim Smith, a former Nebraska legislator who is now an executive vice president of the The Platte Institute, told The Center Square.

The revenue from expanding the sales tax to services such as health care would be used to create a “flat tax” on corporate and individual income, said Smith: “Everything under $50,000 for an individual would be completely exempt from state income taxes.”

The reforms would have many benefits to the state including reducing property taxes, Smith said. He has been touring the state promoting the “tax modernization” plan.

The proposal immediately drew fire from another nonprofit group, the OpenSky Policy Institute.

“Our initial look at the report left us with several questions and concerns, most notably that many low- and middle-income families would pay significantly more in taxes,” the group’s executive director Renee Fry said in a statement. “As is often the case with reports like this, the devil is in the details and a cursory glance left us skeptical about the possible benefits of these tax changes. “

Smith hopes the tax reform proposals will be considered by the Nebraska legislature next year.

“But next year is the last year of Gov. Pete Rickett’s term,” Smith said. “The way politics play out, there may be pressure to kick the can down the road to the next governor.”