The first of two bills targeting property tax relief is scheduled to be heard today in the Unicameral.
Governor Pete Ricketts’ proposals are being carried by Senators Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids and Mike Gloor of Grand Island.
Senator Sullivan says the measure, LB 958, has a few primary areas of focus.
“It controls growth in local spending, just like we’re doing at the state level,” Sullivan says. “It also gives taxpayers a greater voice in how local government levies their taxes and budgets their tax dollars. In many cases, if they want to go beyond the limitations that we’re setting, take it to a vote of the people.”
Senator Gloor says the legislation will help with limiting spending and cap ag land valuations at three-percent per year.
“This tax package is an effort to tighten up spending limits on local government,” Gloor says. “It’s important to note, it doesn’t remove funding mechanism for local governments but does tighten up spending limits, removing exemptions and placing them under the levy lid, as an example.”
Both the Nebraska Farm Bureau and Cattlemen’s Association support the bills. Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson says the property tax relief is badly needed.
“There’s a huge imbalance out there that has been partially created by increased land values,” Nelson says, “and now today, we’re faced with significant declines in farm prices across the board, in the grains and in the livestock as well.”
The senators say neither of the property tax bills will reduce education spending.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton