Gage County Assessor Patti Milligan says complaints to county officials do little good. She urges county residents to contact their legislator, arguing that if property taxes are to come down, they will need to be lowered by the legislature.
“Get on board,” Milligan states. “That’s where it needs to be, because the next year it’s going to be the same thing if we don’t start doing something active.”
Gage County Board member Dennis Byars, a former state lawmaker, says an adjustment of other taxes could make way for an easing of the property tax.
“We’ve got income (tax). We have sales (tax). We have other areas that could be expanded, very slightly, to take a tremendous amount of the pressure off of (the) property tax,” Byars says. “And they talk about doing it, whether it’s from the governor right on through the legislature and everywhere else, but they don’t have the guts to take action and do it.”
Fellow board member, Erich Tiemann, says that while discussion in the legislature has centered on the tax burden carried by farmers and ranchers, it needs to be broadened.
Agriculture interests have lobbied to lower the percentage at which farmland is assessed from the current 75% of market value to 65%. Tiemann says assessment percentages should be lowered on commercial and residential property as well, arguing that if the rates fall the economy would get a boost from increased building.
A group of farmers has been exploring the possibility of a special legislative session on property taxes.
Doug Kennedy, KWBE, contributed to this article.