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A Nebraska county that owes over $30million to six people wrongly convicted of rape and murder will raise taxes to foot the bill.
The Gage County Board of Supervisors voted 7-0 on Wednesday to impose a new half-cent sales tax, which will generate an additional $1.3 million annually to cover the county's debt.
Beatrice - Six - Spent - Years - Prison
Known as the Beatrice Six, the ex-inmates spent more than 70 years in prison collectively for the 1985 rape and killing in Beatrice, Nebraska, about 40 miles south of Lincoln. DNA evidence exonerated them in 2008.
They sued Gage County the following year, alleging that the county ran a reckless investigation and a federal jury awarded them $28.1 million in 2016, with interest and legal fees taking the total to over $30 million.
County - Appeals - Officials - Choice - Judgment
The county wasn't properly insured when the six were convicted, and its appeals were all rejected. That left officials with no choice but to pay the judgment.
Now that the county has to pay it, 'we're trying to find ways to fund this as best as possible and take some of the burden off the landowner,' said County Board Chairman Erich Tiemann, according to the Beatrice Daily Sun.
Gage - County - Property - Tax - Year
Gage County has already raised its property tax as high as legally allowed and has started making $3.8 million a year in payments, but county officials say relying on property taxes alone isn't fair to farmers whose land requires them to pay much more than homeowners and renters.
The new tax is intended to ease that burden...
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