Property tax relief primarily aimed at agriculture is working its way through the Unicameral, slowly.
A change to ease pressure on school districts to raise their levies is on the verge of passing after overcoming the filibuster of Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha who accuses rural lawmakers of agreeing to changes to the Omaha Learning Community to get their tax break.
“In order to get their bill and by ‘their’ I meant the rural interests, the piddling chicken feed that they’re getting,” according to Chambers.
Chambers, angered by passage of a bill for Nebraska to revert to the winner-take-all system of distributing presidential electoral votes, has vowed to filibuster nearly every bill. Chambers also says he is angry at the Unicameral for failing to move the medical marijuana bill, which he says would provide pain relief for children who cannot get relief from conventional medicine.
The phrase Chambers used catches the attention of Sen. Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins.
“Sen. Chambers says the amount going to the ag people in this is chicken feed. Unfortunately, he’s correct,” Chambers says.
Bloomfield says that seems to be where agriculture has been relegated, pecking and scratching trying to get a little relief from property taxes.
But, the sponsor of LB 959, Sen. Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids, isn’t so sure the phrase is accurate.
“Is it chicken feed; $8.5 million?” Sullivan asks. “Well, it’s something.”
The second part of the property tax relief package backed by Gov. Pete Ricketts that would provide $20 million in property tax relief for agriculture should be debated today.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]