As state legislators look at ways to revamp Nebraska’s tax system, one message they’re hearing is that property taxes are too high. Kristen Hassebrook, spokeswoman for the Nebraska Cattlemen, says property taxes are bounding at an alarming rate.
“The valuations have been rising anywhere from 10, 20, 30% per year out in rural Nebraska,” Hassebrook says. “That makes it one of the fastest-growing business expenses for our members.”
Hassebrook, the cattlemen’s director of legal and regulatory affairs, says the message about property taxes is being heard loud and clear by members of the legislative panel who are holding public hearings.
“At the Tax Modernization hearings that have been held throughout the state, there has been a consistent cry of ‘property taxes are too high’ and that it’s not just a local issue, there’s a state component,” Hassebrook says. “I think the Tax Modernization Committee from the legislature is hearing that.”
Hassebrook says her group will work with the committee and other state senators in coming up with legislation during the next session to provide property tax relief.
“After they get done having these statewide hearings, that Tax Modernization Committee will go back to Lincoln and come forward with any proposals for the 2014 legislative session,” Hassebrook says. “Nebraska Cattlemen will work diligently to make sure tax relief is part of any package that comes out of the legislature.”
Hassebrook says property, income and sales taxes all need to be better managed going forward. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman told the panel members property tax relief needs to be included in their discussions and ultimate recommendations.
The committee began holding public hearings in Scottsbluff late last month. It also held hearings in North Platte and Norfolk. The panel will hold a public hearing at Metro Community College, South Omaha Campus on Thursday, October 17th, beginning at 1:30 PM. The final public hearing is scheduled for October 18th in Lincoln at the State Capitol, Room 1113, beginning at 10 AM.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton