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A Tax Credit for Only One Taxpayer? Is Something Wrong?


The Nebraska Legislature decided to redo how taxpayers owning equipment used to generate electrical power with wind are taxed. When they did so, they added a tax credit for amounts paid as personal property tax by wind generators in 2008, but the state had only one such taxpayer that year. The taxpayer’s obligations were owed to Knox County, Domina Law’s Client, in the northeast corner of the state.

The Legislature’s enactment changed the way all wind generators’ property would be taxed. But it fell especially heavily on Knox County because the statute contains a provision purporting to give the taxpayer a credit against amounts due in subsequent or future years for what was paid in 2008. Knox County is deprived of revenue as a result. But no other county is so deprived, and only one taxpayer reaps a benefit.

Domina Law Group pc llo was delighted to be selected by Knox County to challenge the tax credit as unconstitutional. David Domina, working with Knox County attorney John Thomas, sued state officials for a declaration that the tax credit is invalid, and an injunction to enjoin its payment. In March, the County’s final rebuttal brief, pulling matters tightly together, was filed for the Court. The brief argues that the tax credit is unconstitutional because it grants a special favor to a closed class comprised of a single taxpayer. By doing so it deprives Knox County residents of revenue, increases their taxes, burdens the County and its political subdivisions, and offends at least two distinct parts of the Nebraska State Constitution.

The County’s interesting reply brief may be read entirely here.

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