Sen. Dwight Burney

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Dwight Burney was one of Nebraska's leading proponents of repealing the state property tax in favor of a sales tax.

"Everyone depended on property taxes. That was the only tax we had, and I figured the farmers were paying more than their fair share," Burney said late in his life.

His political peers said the former legislator and governor lost the 1964 race for governor because of his persistent push for the sales tax, which eventually won approval in 1967 when the state property tax was repealed.

Burney was born Jan. 7, 1892, and grew up on a farm near Hartington. He became a farmer and cattle feeder after attending the University of South Dakota and teaching high school for two years.

Burney first entered state politics when he was 52. His friends urged him to run for the legislative seat in 1944 and circulated a petition on his behalf. Before that his only political experience was 25 years on the area rural school board.

He was a senator for 12 years, with one term as Speaker. He won a bid for lieutenant governor in 1956 and became acting governor for four months in 1960, after the death of Gov. Ralph G. Brooks. Burney served four terms as lieutenant governor and lost the 1964 governor's race to Democratic incumbent Frank Morrison.

He died on March 10, 1987, at age 95.

Sources: The Lincoln Journal, Lincoln Star, Omaha World-Herald and Nebraska Blue Book.