A call for “true” property tax reform comes on the eve of a new legislative session.
A newly formed group, calling itself Reform for Nebraska’s Future, is calling on legislators to deliver property tax reform this session. It has gathered signatures on petitions from around 10,000 Nebraskans which have been delivered to Gov. Pete Ricketts, calling on the governor and the Unicameral to work together to adjust the state tax structure to address what it calls the unbalanced three-legged tax stool.
Chairman Mark Fahleson stated during a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday that government in Nebraska relies too heavily on property taxes for revenue, holding back growth.
“For the future of Nebraska, true property tax reform is important, it’s the key and that needs to take a priority, because a short term fix perhaps in income taxes is not going to address the long-term issue we have when it comes to the out-of-balance tax stool,” according to Fahleson.
The group advocates an equal reliance on property, income, and sales tax revenue. It estimates about half the tax revenue generated in the state comes from property taxes with state sales taxes accounting for around 20%.
Fahleson acknowledged that to truly reform property taxes, other taxes might have to be raised.
“We think that meaningful property tax reform can come through a couple of measures,” Fahleson said. “One, is for example, taxing the Internet sales that are currently not being taxed remitted. The second is a slight, perhaps one cent increase, in the state sales tax.”
The group stated in a news release that while property taxes continue to be a top concern among policymakers, reform has yet to be enacted.
“And so, what we’re really doing is calling upon the Nebraska legislature, the policy makers in the state, to make a meaningful effort this session to put property tax reform, not relief, but reform at the head of their agenda,” Fahleson said.
The long, 90-day session, of the Unicameral begins Wednesday at 10am.
AUDIO: Reform for Nebraska’s Future news conference opening statements. [8 min.]