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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

State Taxes on Social Security Benefits to Phase Out Faster

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Thursday, May 5, 2022   

Older Nebraskans will be keeping more of their hard-earned Social Security benefits even sooner, after Gov. Pete Ricketts signed Legislative Bill 873 into law.

All state income taxes on Social Security checks will now be eliminated by 2025, five years earlier than outlined in a measure passed last year.

Todd Stubbendieck, state director for AARP Nebraska, said dropping the tax is the right thing to do for nearly 350,000 Nebraska seniors facing rising prices at supermarkets and at the gas pump.

"This program was never designed to be a revenue raiser for the states," Stubbendieck explained. "This is hard-earned Social Security benefits, all of it should be in seniors' pockets spending how they want it to be spent."

Stubbendieck noted the vast majority of older Nebraskans are not wealthy with big pensions, they are middle-income people living on a fixed budget. Nearly 55% of beneficiaries rely on Social Security for half or more of their income, and about 28% rely on Social Security for at least 90% of their income.

Stubbendieck emphasized removing taxes from benefits will help Nebraskans live their retirement years independently and with dignity, and will also boost local economies. Nebraskans age 50 and older account for 56 cents out of every dollar spent in the state, creating an annual economic impact of $50 billion.

"We're past the point of savings, we're at the point of spending our savings," Stubbendieck stressed. "The dollars that are going to go into people's pockets because of this tax cut are going to be spent in our local economies, and are going to be a big economic driver in those communities."

Older Nebraskans will see immediate benefits from the measure, which reduces taxes on Social Security benefits this year by 40%. Next year, seniors will see an exemption of 60%. In 2024 the exemption rises to 80%, with all state taxes on benefits set to end in 2025.

Disclosure: AARP Nebraska contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Consumer Issues, Health Issues, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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