The Nebraska Farm Bureau has issued a challenge for the new governor and the new legislature: reform the state tax system.
Farm Bureau Vice President Mark McHargue of Central City says the property tax is becoming an increasingly heavy burden for farmers.
“The effect on the bottom line for our members is growing, it’s substantial,” McHargue tells Ken Anderson with Brownfield Ag News. “For some of our ranchers, it’s the biggest check that they write in their operation in a given year.”
The Farm Bureau has declared the state tax structure and school funding system broken. It says a fix is needed.
McHargue says the time for change is right, because a new governor and a new legislature take office next month.
“We are optimistic that we really have a chance here maybe that we haven’t had for a lot of years to actually get some meaningful reform done,” McHargue says. “It’s not going to happen in one year. It’s still going to be a long-term process. But I think the initial steps that we need to take are real positive that we can get that done this year.”
According to the Nebraska Farm Bureau, though farmers and ranchers make up only about three percent of the state population, they pay about a quarter of the property tax collected by the state.
The Farm Bureau says the state must restructure its tax system to find a better balance to fund local obligations, including schools.
Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, contributed to this report.