Residents of Council Bluffs and any other Iowa town who drive to work in Omaha may soon face a $50 “wheel tax” as cash-strapped Omaha tries to make ends meet. The fee would also apply to Nebraska residents who work in Omaha but live elsewhere. Bellevue (Nebraska) City Councilwoman Carol Blood says officials from her city and other surrounding towns are banding together to oppose the fee.
Blood says, “Many of our area constituents have expressed anger towards the wheel tax and what a divisive issue this is for the Omaha metro area.” Blood says she’s gotten many messages via email from residents in the surrounding area asking for help in defeating the proposal, which is designed to maintain Omaha’s roads.
“Omaha and Sarpy County are an inter-connected metropolitan area and this is going to hurt a lot of families in Sarpy County,” Blood says. “Surely, there’s a better way to create another form of taxation.” Blood says the 50-dollar fee would likely put a huge burden on already-strapped working families in Iowa and Nebraska.
“Fifty-dollars for a family of four can mean a tank of gas, two bags of groceries,” Blood says. “It could be the difference between them meeting their bills that month or not meeting their bills.” The wheel tax — or Road User Fee — would go into effect January 1st. It would apply to anyone who works at least 30 days a year in Omaha and would be directly deducted from a worker’s paycheck. Employers know where employees live and each employer would get two-dollars from the fifty dollars, with 48 going to Omaha’s coffers.