August 28, 2014

Farm Bureau on failure of tax relief: disheartening

An effort to give farmers a break on property taxes has failed to get out of a legislative committee.

The Revenue Committee has deadlocked on the proposal to reduce the taxable value of agricultural land from the current 75% of its market value to 65%. The tie vote prevents the bill from moving to the full legislature for debate.

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson expresses disappointment, calling the outcome “disheartening”.

“Part of what it points out is it’s a lot easier to spend money than it is to cut taxes and that’s part of what we’re dealing with right now,” Nelson tells Brownfield Ag News. “But, we will continue to work, because we think it’s important, it’s a very important issue and we think the time is right to do that.”

The sponsor of LB 670, Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha, says there is plenty of time in the legislative session for the Revenue Committee to reconsider its vote and move the bill to the full Unicameral for consideration.

Gov. Dave Heineman says he’s disappointed with the committee outcome as well.

And, the governor believes the legislature can do better than pumping an additional $25 million into the Property Tax Credit Fund.

“We made a small step forward with the new budget that came out, about $25 million on an annual basis that is going to be added to the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund. That really needs to be closer to $50 or 60 million. So, we’re going to fight for that,” Heineman tells Brownfield Ag News.

Heineman has said that tax cuts should be the top priority of the legislature this year, including both cuts to property and income taxes.

Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, contributed to this story.