Nebraska Farm Bureau officials continue to push for property tax relief in the upcoming legislative session.
The key proposals in the Nebraska Farm Bureau tax cut plan are beefing up the Property Tax Credit Program and dropping the assessed valuation of agricultural land from 75% of market value to 65%.
Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson understands that would cut into state revenue.
“Obviously, some of that would come from the General Fund. There are significant reserves now that can be used and so that’s really how we address the first year,” Nelson tells Ken Anderson with Brownfield Ag News during the Nebraska Farm Bureau annual meeting in Kearney.
The Tax Modernization Committee, created by the legislature during its last session, has been meeting since the session ended. It has considered a number of options and is leaning toward suggesting options for the legislature to consider, rather than submitted a concrete proposal.
The committee has considered doing way with a special state tax credit relief program and folding the money into the state public school funding formula to allow school districts to roll back their local property levies. The Farm Bureau favors keeping if not enhancing the property tax relief program.
Nelson says property taxes are too high in Nebraska and make up too large a percentage of local and state revenue, approximately 45%. Nelson says that places to heavy a burden on farmers and ranchers. The Farm Bureau, he says, prefers the often-cited three-legged stool for taxes: a third each from property, sales, and income taxes.
Though the Farm Bureau believes the state budget can be cut to accommodate tax relief, Nelson says the Farm Bureau is willing to consider broadening the sales tax base by ending some exemptions.
“We’re really open to looking at lots and lots of things in order to bring in to balance the entire tax system so that we have something that is more fair and equitable for everyone in the state of Nebraska,” Nelson says.
Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, contributed to this story.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]