As state legislators consider Governor Pete Ricketts’ plan to reduce income taxes, the president of the Nebraska Farmers Union is speaking out against the measure.
John Hansen says the bill doesn’t address the biggest need for the state’s farmers and ranchers, which is property tax relief.
“We’re facing a $900-million deficit and likely, when we get the next forecast board data in, we’re going to be looking at a billion or more deficit,” Hansen says. “So, we need to provide property tax relief to farmers and ranchers who are facing the worst economic crisis since the mid 1980s.”
Hansen says the bill “goes in exactly the wrong direction.”
“The governor and Senator Smith want to go down the road to reducing the revenue stream that we get in the most fair and progressive way, based on the ability to pay,” Hansen says. “If they’re successful, that’s the end of property tax reform for this session and for many sessions to come because of the automatic trigger mechanisms in it.”
Hansen says it’s a very confusing piece of legislation and it has one of its primary goals backwards.
“The proposal, LB-337, is extremely difficult to understand, it goes entirely in the wrong direction and it helps those taxpayers in Nebraska by far the most who need the least help,” he says.
The legislature’s Revenue Committee held a hearing on the bill last week that went six-and-a-half hours and no action was taken.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton