Nebraska farmers say low commodity prices have placed agriculture under financial stress, bringing them near a breaking point on property taxes.
Farm groups have joined a coalition opposing a community college bond issue in southeastern Nebraska, saying farmers and ranchers simply cannot absorb higher property taxes.
Prague farmer Dennis Fujan with the Nebraska Soybean Association claims the property tax bill is becoming a factor during budget time.
“Some farmers are, especially retired farmers, are even having to sell property in order to pay property taxes,” Fujan tells reporters during a news conference.
Agriculture, riding high only a few years ago, is experiencing tough times now. Commodity prices have dropped, both crop and livestock. Farm income is down.
The drop in farm income has caused farm groups to intensify their call for tax relief.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates 48% of statewide tax revenue comes from property taxes. Farm Bureau says agriculture has been asked to carry a disproportionate share of paying for governmental services, especially for education.
A Farm Bureau Board of Directors member, Terry Kleeber of Sterling, says the property tax bill has grown so much that for many farmers it is rivaling the cost of seed and fertilizer.
Dick Hollman of Hallam with the Nebraska Cattlemen Board of Directors says the Unicameral needs to tackle property tax reform.
“What comes forward needs to be property tax relief and not property tax increase.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]