Efforts to provide property tax relief began well before the legislative session.
Last summer, Gov. Pete Ricketts met with the key chairs of legislative committees to discuss property taxes that discussion continued into a new year and a new session.
Ricketts says he talked with Revenue Committee chairman, Sen. Mike Gloor of Grand Island, and Education Committee chairwoman, Sen. Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids, at the State Fair in Grand Island last year. Ricketts outlined a proposal to control local spending and place a cap on the increase in agricultural land evaluations that would be refined throughout the year and proposed by the two committee chairs during the legislative session.
The two bills sponsored by the two chairs would change during the process, before finally winning passage.
Legislators resisted attempts to restrict local governmental spending and limit farmland evaluations and settled on a straight forward $20 million in tax credits for farmers and ranchers and a tweak of the state school funding formula to take pressure off rural schools to raise their leveies.
Ricketts says he’s not done.
“Could we look at other ideas in the future? I’m always open to looking at other ideas and we can see what we can do,” Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network in an interview. “At the end of the day though it really has to be local government who has to be controlling expenses that will allow us to have property tax relief.”
Ricketts says he’s not frustrated lawmakers gave up so quickly on enforcing local spending controls.
“It is a hard process. There are a lot of different ideas on how we achieve property tax relief. You’ve got a lot of different points of view on it,” Ricketts says. “And, it’s just something that is part of the give-and-take of the legislative process that where we started from was different from where we ended up, but at the end of the day, we were able to provide additional property tax relief.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]