September 20, 2014

Effort to increase money for property tax relief falls short (AUDIO)

A group of senators informally debate property tax relief during floor debate on the budget

A group of senators informally debate property tax relief during floor debate on the budget

An effort to boost a property tax relief fund fails in the legislature as budget debate begins in the Unicameral.

Not enough lawmakers vote to add another $20 million to the $115 million Property Tax Credit Fund.

The Budget Committee included a $25 million increase in its revisions to the $8 billion state budget approved by the Unicameral last session.

Revenue Committee Chairman, Sen. Galen Hadley of Kearney, proposed an amendment to add another $20 million. Hadley noted during his opening that it wouldn’t provide much of a tax break, but it would at least send a signal to Nebraska property owners that they heard their complaints.

Sen. Danielle Conrad of Lincoln stated the $25 million added by the Budget Committee is enough.

“And if you want to have the debate about what’s more important, taking care of citizens with developmental disabilities or insuring that folks like Warren Buffet and Pete Ricketts get a tax cut, I welcome that debate,” Conrad said during floor debate. “Bring it. Now is the time.”

Yet, Sen. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft had a different take. Brasch asserted that farmers needed a break on property taxes.

“My heart is broken, just broken, to see that the Revenue Committee wanted to do the right thing,” Brasch stated. “It’s not that we could not give property tax relief to ag and others. It’s that we will not. This body said, ‘We will not do that.’”

Twenty state senators supported providing the extra $20 million, not enough to amend the budget.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:55]