Meet Earl Visser
We just discovered a sideline that Nebraska FAIRtax and “EPIC” mover and shaker Earl Visser has that could help the FAIRtax effort. First, however, an introduction to EPIC would be timely.
The EPIC Option is Nebraska’s state-level FAIRtax initiative. Board of Delegates member Rob Rohrbough says the EPIC acronym stands for “Eliminate Property, Income (including inheritance), and Corporate taxes," replacing the current sales tax at all levels of Nebraska government with a consumption tax. EPIC supporters originally planned to mimic the national "Prebate," but for simplicity, the group decided to eliminate taxes on groceries instead. This exemption was more familiar to most Nebraskans. Rob is President of the Nebraska-based Consumption Tax Institute, Inc., EPIC's research and education arm.
Earl Visser and Rob Rohrbough are state leaders from Nebraska who regularly participate in monthly national Zoom meetings. So, we knew that about Earl.
But we did not know that Earl is also a thirty-five-year member of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Inc., or “NFIB.” NFIB calls itself the voice of small business, advocating for America's small and independent business owners in Washington, D.C., and all fifty state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. Since its founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses.
Earl, an NFIB Nebraska state board member, is trying to form an alliance between the NFIB and FAIRtax at the national level to get around resistance he has encountered with his fellow board members. In mid-March 2023, Earl met with a national NFIB membership representative from Florida, who had met the NFIB national executive Director. The Florida rep agreed to send Earl’s proposal to the Executive Director, her supervisor, and one up the chain. Stay tuned.
We have tried to form partnerships with other organizations before. We learned not to expect the response to be immediate and favorable. Many organizations see us unfairly as competing with their membership for donations. One exception is the Convention of States movement that is actively behind EPIC. Whatever the response from the other organizations, we keep trying.
Meanwhile, EPIC in Nebraska is proceeding at an impressive pace with a petition drive. That is necessary since they have found that lawmakers have a tough time doing without three confiscatory streams of income — the Property, Income, and Corporate listed before. The people, however, cannot hold with the state making them pay to keep their own property. So instead, taxpayers flock to sign and donate to the cause. The target is to put two proposed amendments to the Nebraska Constitution on the ballot in the November 2024 election — one to eliminate the three confiscatory taxes and one to restrict consumption tax exemptions to only groceries. If EPIC makes it into constitutional law in Nebraska, it will represent a milestone for the FAIRtax. One state-level FAIRtax on the scoreboard will pressure other states to follow suit and put upward pressure on the federal government.
I would love to know if you plan alliances with other organizations or state-level FAIR taxes.
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