Gov. Pete Ricketts and state lawmakers don’t seem to be on the same page on tax relief.
Not only did the legislature’s Revenue Committee pass on a bill that would have lowered property taxes for farmers, it has endorsed an increase in the gas tax.
Ricketts has backed a measure that would lower the percentage at which agricultural land is taxed from 75% of its market value to 65%. Ricketts promotes it as needed tax relief for the state’s number one industry.
“So, I’m very disappointed that the Revenue Committee didn’t get that out of committee,” Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate WNAX. “However, I view this as just the start of the conversation, not the end of it. We look forward to continuing to work with the Revenue Committee.”
Not only did the Revenue Committee not endorse a property tax cut for farmers, it did endorse a six cent increase in the gasoline tax over the next four years.
Ricketts isn’t giving up.
“Well, certainly one of the things that we’re looking for is to figure out a way to make sure we can bring people on board with us,” Ricketts says. “So, I think there’s always going to be a place to compromise on this.”
Lawmakers have been reluctant to endorse the governor’s proposal to increase the property tax relief fund by $60 million a year, with much lower numbers being floated in the Capitol.
Ricketts says concern about how the lowering of the farmland assessed valuation would affect local governments, including school districts, has been over-played, noting that his proposal would spread out the percentage decrease over a three-year period.
“I would expect to be able to see school districts and counties be able to adapt to that change,” Ricketts says.
Jerry Oster, WNAX, contributed to this story.