Gov. Pete Ricketts says the legislature took a step to provide property tax relief this legislative session.
Lawmakers approved two companion bills to help school districts lower levies and to provide $20 million in tax credits to farmers and ranchers.
The bills changed during the legislative session as lawmakers watered down some key provisions.
Gov. Ricketts had proposed restricting the growth of revenue on the local level, tightening the ability of local governmental bodies to raise revenue. Ricketts has argued the only way to provide real property tax relief is to limit spending. Those provisions were stripped from LB 958. A last minute attempt to rein in the spending of the state’s community colleges also was removed from the bill.
The bill initially provided approximately $30 million in property tax relief for agricultural land. As passed, it provides $20 million in tax credits.
Ricketts expresses little concern about the changes.
“I think the important thing to note is in LB 959, we do have a bit of expense control in there,” Ricketts says about the educational portion of the package. “We are going to be addressing the minimum levy adjustment. I think that’s going to be helpful, especially for our rural schools to make them more eligible for school aid going forward, which will help out with property taxes.”
LB 959 provides $8.5 million in state aid to many schools not currently receiving state aid, a financial boost which should help them hold the line on their local levies.
Ricketts says it is important the Unicameral acted.
“If you look again from the last year, I think there were 26 different bills on property tax relief that had been dropped in the Revenue Committee and not one of them got out of committee.”
Ricketts calls the action a step forward.
“So, we are making progress on property tax relief. This is all good news for the taxpayers of Nebraska.”