The Wheels Down Politics Show – Pete Sepp — National Taxpayers Union

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Pete Sepp 02Jerry Kratochvil interviews Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union.

Kratochvil asks Sepp about his thoughts on Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds’ and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts’ recent joint appearance in support of Renewable Fuel Standards for ethanol. They also talk about how the GOP Presidential candidates are discussing the RFS issues.

They continue their discussion about the increase in the Gas Tax in both Iowa and Nebraska, and the idea of broad change in tax laws and how that can be achieved.

They finish the discussion talking about how states can change policy on larger issues when there is a crisis and immediate attention is needed. And how they can do it when there is no perceived crisis.

On the Web: National Taxpayers Union
Twitter: @NTU
Facebook: National Taxpayers Union


You can find this, and all of our podcasts at and by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.


  1. TexasAnnie says:

    This is the BEST podcast you have gifted us with to date, Street Sweeper!
    I was already quite familiar with the National Taxpayers Union and I don’t mind saying that listening this morning reignited my longstanding HOPE that folks would rally around tax justice. Pete Sepp is so persuasive that only those fearing loss of their own tax subsidies have cause for rejecting his comments. Y’all should listen!!! I’ll play the podcast again for others in the household.

    And thumbs up to Alaska.

  2. Sparkles says:

    Alaska eliminated its tax, in 1980, is due solely to the completion of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline system which brought billions of dollars in new revenue to the state.

    No state in the U.S. receives more money per person from the federal government than Alaska.

    And a list of the ten states -most- dependent on Federal Government aid, has a deep red hue.

  3. Sparkles says:


    How about we agree to start with tax reform right here in Nebraska.

    Of course any conversation about tax reform in NE has to begin with the elephant in the room, the massive corporate welfare trough known as LB775, or the Nebraska Advantage Act.
    Deena, over at NE Watchdog has done a bang up job on the topic. If you’d like to see where 39 cents of every NE tax payer dollar goes, google up:
    How costly is corporate welfare in Nebraska?

    Maybe when Richey Ricketts is done dreaming up new ways to torture Nebraska’s whopping 2.5% unemployed (and before he heads off to Japan, or Brazil, or France, or Beverly Hills, or Brussels, or Aspen, or Spain or New York..) you good ‘conservative’ folk can sit down and talk to him about Nebraska’s leading role in redistributing wealth from the working poor to the 0.0001%.
    About ‘creating’ jobs at the expense to the NE taxpayer of anywhere from $45K to $200K per.

    And when you’re done with that, maybe you can invite Richey to share a table with his pals at the NE Farm Bureau and force them to address the ongoing racket that is the Renewal Fuel Standard.
    A swindle by Big Ag and the NE’s corn producers, very well delineated in Jerry’s podcast with Pete Sepp.

    R Gov, R AG, R appointed judiciary, R legislature – and none of the above will be addressed.
    Just lot’s of pandering by Pete and his conservative pals and lot’s and lot’s of bitching by Nebraska’s dominating conservative majority.

  4. Dear old Sparkles. He seems to have given up arguing for the Iran cave-in, and is now whipping up class warfare.

    LB 775 is a crappy law. That doesn’t mean Nebraska taxes aren’t way too high.

  5. TexasAnnie says:

    You’re preaching to the choir, Sparkles! Before there was Deena Winter, there was the Wickersham, Raikes, & Chambers barrier to expanding corporate welfare. And there was Nebraskans for Peace, honest economists (but not E. Goss) and hardworking laypersons, ALL trying to make sense of the cost of job creation in Nebraska. Yet each year, those corporations not yet getting their tax subsidies, pressed for more and more corporate welfare, and why not? They were looking around and others were gettin’ it! And it has been so, since well before I left the state, now a decade ago. Y’all have so much corporate welfare there; that fact, coupled with my knowledge of how your developmentally disabled are being (mis)treated, well, I just couldn’t continue to call myself Nebraskan…

    Coincidentally, I’m just now in the office and disposing of old “tax studies” and business subsidy docs I collected while there. Funny you should mention it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “whopping 2.5%” Surely you mean 25%. Otherwise, what’s so “whopping” about 2.5 people out of 100 looking for work. That sounds about right for normal turnover.

  7. Sparkles says:


    The ‘whopping’ was intended to be sarcastic.
    The unemployment rate in Nebraska, at only 2.5%, is the lowest in the nation.

    And if you missed it, today’s Lincoln Journal Star reported on Gov. 0.0001%’s new quest to squeeze NE’s tiny pool of unemployed.
    It’s nothing short of moronic that our Gov., Pandering Pete, finds it a priority to discover new ways to torture the unfortunate 2.5% of our citizenry who are currently between jobs and receiving a paltry, I don’t know.. $200/week(?).

    The accumulated savings achieved by twisting the screws on this 2.5% of Nebraska’s least fortunate, are certain to fall short of even 1 night of the taxpayer funded planetary adventures of our follicly challenged Global Ambassador and his frequent flying Cabinet/State Patrol entourage.

  8. Hesdeadjim says:

    To be perfectly honest…. I think sparkles has a teency tiny point. This state has bigger problems that the gov ought to focus on. 2.5% unemployment is textbook “full employment”.

  9. Kortezzi says:

    It’s silly to call LB775 “corporate welfare”. Nebraska corporate income taxes are simply way too high. And back during the late 1980s when ConAgra threatened to leave Nebraska, our Gov. (Kay Orr) and the Legislature didn’t want to reduce that corporate income tax rate to entice them to stay. They thought they could enact a tax credits package that could be dangled in front of ConAgra and get them to stay. It worked…but now Nebraska has to give credits to other companies who meet the qualifying jobs and investment criteria set out in the law.

    It would have been a lot simpler to just cut the NE corporate income tax rate. But no, our politicians couldn’t face the thought of a straightforward rate cut!

    You don’t need incentives like LB775 if your tax rates are low enough to begin with.

    I don’t think ConAgra’s leaving any time soon, by the way. The current battle w/ Jana Partners will force more efficiencies, but a move to NJ is an empty threat.

  10. Anonymous says:

    There’s nothing Funny about lack of hustle; aliens know all about hard work – getting that work & doing it. It ought to be a requirement for continued citizenship, not birthplace.

  11. TexasAnnie says:

    It is “silly” to call LB775 corporate welfare, Kortezzi, but not for the reason you imply. You take issue with the tax rate(s) but do not account for the FACT that your rate(s) could go down IF the revenue granted to “job creation” was actually being collected and deposited into the state treasury.

    I on the other hand am not complaining about the rate(s), but rather the FACT that some folks must pay the tax while others need not pay it, according to the whims of policymakers. I do not abide tax injustice, the root of government corruption, and in my opinion, the source of the ultimate demise of the Republican Party. (And the faux Libertarians, for that matter.)

    And besides, there’s another reason for calling LB775 “silly.” That being, that LB775 has been expanded and replaced, many, many times since the late 1980’s. Corporate welfare in Nebraska is re-named…

  12. Lil Mac says:

    I predict Trump/Fiorina beats Biden/Warren in 2016. Hillary was never viable.

    On the surface, Trump is a wild clown, Hillary unbeatable, Biden a non-starter, and the ladies nonentities. But all that is all for the rubes. Pundits here are required to look more deeply.

    Trump didn’t get to be wealthy in a viciously competitive business environment by being stupid. He is following the path Reagan took by owning the widespread voter sentiment that America has become too wimpy, weak and apologetic. Like Reagan, Trump is seen as a party outsider, and all too human, so as to pry his way into voters hearts and once there need only appear dignified by, for example, Trump not lighting his cell phone on fire. Trump is playing this like a violin.

    Hillary is being actively sabotaged by Obama because she is Bill Clinton’s legacy not Obama’s. Obama needs Biden to run. And after two terms of a black President, Democratic women will demand a woman, and that means Warren. In response, Trump will pick Fiorina, who like Trump a savvy business success.

    Please note that Trump and Fiorina are not some former governor or senator who achieved office by appealing to the least caring, most unfocused voters who happened to wake up and vote on Election Day. They come from a far more demanding environment. If they play this right, it can landslide.

    I am not saying this is good or bad. I am saying the geology of the political landscape suggests this.

  13. The Grundle King says:

    TA wrote: “I do not abide tax injustice…”

    Interesting statement. So either Texas has total and complete tax justice, or TA pays what she believes is a ‘just’ amount, and somehow gets away with it. Shit, this is making me want to move to Texas!

  14. Sparkles says:

    Lil Mac,

    That’s certainly an interesting GOP ticket.

    Fiorina has a prominent place among the rankings of at least a half dozen respected business journals under: “Worst CEO’s of All Time”.
    Also, the latest Real Clear Politics average of all polls shows Fiorina clocking in at 1.3%.
    Someone will have to explain to me how 1.3% helps a ticket.

    And, The Donald.
    Of course we all know about Mexican rapists and the phony nature of our (still) crippled and maimed POW’s.
    What is likely less well known –
    – has filed bankruptcy 4 times (topping the times he’s been married, by 1)
    – supported single payer health care, up until his Presidential run
    – was pro choice, up until his Presidential run
    – opposes Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security reform

    And specific to the business acumen (of which BK plays a major role) that Republicans believe set The Donald apart, here’s a harsh little slice of reality for ya –
    “I identify with some things as a Democrat,..
    ..When the economy crashed so horribly under George Bush because of mistakes they made having to do with banking and lots of other things, I don’t think the Democrats would have done that,” Trump said. ”
    Morning Joe – Friday, July 24, 2015

    Of course, none of these facts would preclude the rubes from pulling the lever for The Donald.
    After all, the shiniest lights among the GOP constellation have recently included the likes of Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain.
    So clearly, anything is possible.

    By the way, I think Hillary would be certain to lose to a ticket of Kasich/Huntsman.
    Of course that would require the GOP steer their careening car away from the impending cliff on their extreme right, and back onto the road toward Sanityville.
    And that my friend, just ain’t gonna happen.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The sheer amount of taxpayer dollars that flood into Texas Annie’s hands, for what is no one else’s problem but TA’s alone, would in normal people produce a sense of humble gratitude for the charity being ripped from your tax pocket and handed by the truckload to TA. For TA to then whine about TA having to pay one extra penny out of her own pocket in taxes, and beyond that for TA to keep calling for “tax fairness” while TA is the recipient of massive charity at every other taxpayers’ expense, is so gallingly hypocritical, and yet deemed so completely acceptable by TA, as to seem psychopathy.

  16. TexasAnnie says:

    C’mon down Grundle King! We do have our problems with the property tax…but no state income tax and modest sales & gas taxes. On the other hand, like Nebraska, we don’t do so well in caring for the developmentally disabled, waiting lists and occasional scandals you know. But the good news is: we save so much in TAXES by simply leaving Nebraska, that we are able to afford care for our adult child in our own home with us.

  17. The Grundle King says:

    So, now I’m confused. First you said you don’t “abide” tax injustice. To “abide” something means to “accept or act in accordance with”, so if you refuse to accept and/or act in accordance with tax injustice, it must mean that you refuse to pay any taxes that you find unjust, and that you pay taxes only at a level that you feel is just. The only reasonable option between the two possibilities I mentioned was, in my mind, that Texas has total and complete tax justice, because surely if you failed to abide any tax injustice, you’d be arrested for tax invasion.

    But now you’re telling me that there are “problems” (injustices) with the property tax…and that your tax dollars don’t reflect a ‘just’ price when considering care for the DD population. And yet, you still live there and ostensibly pay taxes…so if you’re not “abiding” the injustices that you admit exist, then you must be getting away with tax evasion. Man, if that’s the case, I may just move down tomorrow!

  18. TexasAnnie says:

    WRONG! It must mean I pay the taxes assigned to me, under protest, and with a view and real effort toward effecting change. But Grundle King, even paying the taxes assigned to me here, I can find some peace of mind because I know that the taxes have been assigned uniformly. The irregularities in the tax code which do exist have not been caused by legislative fiat and crony capitalism… So if you’re looking for tax evasion (and frankly I don’t blame you if that’s the case because I do understand how skewed the income and sales taxes have become there), I don’t want you here!

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