Taxes remains the top issue for the Nebraska Farm Bureau going into the legislative session, both cutting them, and preventing more.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau has proposed enhancing the Property Tax Credit Program and lowering the assessed valuation on farm land.
Farm Bureau Vice President for Governmental Relations, Jay Rempe, says the group hasn’t given up, even with the meek report submitted by the Tax Modernization Committee.
“We’re certainly interested in trying to do something in 2014 in the way of property tax relief and we’re certainly going to continue our efforts,” Rempe tells Ken Anderson with Brownfield Ag News. “We respect the efforts the Tax Modernization Committee has done. They’ve identified some things, I think, within the property tax arena that we’re certainly interested maybe in pursuing in 2014 and we’ll have to see what happens.”
The legislature created the Tax Modernization Committee after rejecting a proposal by Gov. Dave Heineman to eliminate the state income tax in exchange for the elimination of about half the sales tax exemptions the state grants.
Though the committee met throughout the interim, it failed to agree on any tax proposal. Instead, the committee compiled a report for the Unicameral to consider. It will be up to individual lawmakers to sponsor tax legislation.
Nebraska Farm Bureau officials previously released a proposal to beef up the Property Tax Credit Program and drop the assessed valuation of agricultural land from 75% of market value to 65%.
The Farm Bureau argues that property taxes are too high in Nebraska and make up too large a percentage of local and state revenue, approximately 45%, placing too heavy a burden on farmers and ranchers.
Rempe says the Farm Bureau flatly rejects a proposal by the Water Sustainability Task Force to tax ethanol to help fund water projects. He says such a tax could undo all the work that has been put in to build up the ethanol industry in Nebraska.
Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, contributed to this report.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]