Governor Pete Ricketts’ proposal to change how the state assesses the value of farmland fails to impress the state’s biggest farm group.
Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson says the proposal doesn’t get to the heart of the matter: that Nebraska relies too heavily on revenue from property taxes.
“We’ve had a long period of time where we’ve continued to see the needs of the state being funded by property taxes and a shift towards property taxes and we really need to re-balance how we pay for the priorities of the state of Nebraska,” Nelson tells Brownfield Ag News.
The governor has proposed the state discontinue assessing farmland for property tax purposes at market value, but instead assess it for its income potential from production agriculture. A number of agricultural states have adopted the change, according to the governor.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau has proposed a gradual move away from reliance on property taxes to what it terms as balance in a three-legged stool of taxation: property, sales, and income taxes.
“This is revenue neutral,” Nelson says. “We’re not raising taxes and it’s also important that we talk about the fact that we’re not talking about increasing spending, either.”
The Farm Bureau contends governmental entities throughout Nebraska have gradually become more dependent on property tax revenue to fund programs and services. It says property taxes now account for 48% of the total tax collections in the state, while sales tax accounts for only 19%.
Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, contributed to this story.