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Neb. senators debate bill aimed at Omaha wheel tax

January 27, 2011

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LINCOLN, Neb.—Nebraska lawmakers have begun debate on a bill that targets Omaha's attempts to collect a so-called wheel tax on people who live outside city limits.

The bill by state Sen. Abbie Cornett of Bellevue would prohibit Nebraska municipalities from imposing a wheel tax on nonresidents of their cities and villages.

Omaha's ordinance, passed last year, imposes the $50 tax on people who live elsewhere but work inside Omaha city limits.

Several lawmakers who represent communities outside of Omaha's city limits repeatedly said the city's ordinance amounts to taxation without representation, since those outside Omaha can't vote in its elections.

But some Omaha lawmakers said the tax is a user fee that is fair, because those who drive into the city to work add to the deterioration of city streets.