A group which pushed for property tax relief this past legislative session hasn’t given up, but might change tactics.
Reform for Nebraska’s Future Executive Director Trent Fellers says the group is disappointed property tax relief didn’t pass during the legislative session.
“But what’s happened since then is I think the issue has started to gain even more fire than what it had even before the legislative session,” Fellers tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Fellers says all Nebraskans pay too much in property taxes, both those who farm and ranch as well as those who live in the state’s urban centers of Omaha, Lincoln, and Grand Island.
“The issue is still top of mind for Nebraskans and they want to see some action,” according to Fellers.
Fellers declines to speculate much on why the tax cut package championed by Gov. Pete Ricketts failed to pass during the last legislative session. Fellers does say he believes it tilted too heavily toward income tax relief and failed to adequately address property taxes. Fellers says that during his travels across the state, Nebraskans only complain about high property taxes, not income or sales taxes.
A few threats have been made that if the Unicameral doesn’t act a petition drive will be mounted to place the issue on the ballot, most notably the threat issued immediately upon adjournment of the session by Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard. Erdman says he will lead a petition drive to place property tax relief on the ballot in 2018 if the legislature fails to pass property tax relief.
Fellers says such a threat could spur legislators to do something.
“We can’t discount that and we can’t rely necessarily on action by the legislature, because we just haven’t seen it,” according to Fellers. “So, we’re looking at a broad range of ideas and solutions and strategies to get this problem solved.”
Fellers says the discussions he has had in meetings with Nebraskans has ranged far and wide. He says some have even indicated a desire to consider a different tax structure for the state.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]