A state senator says he will press for the Unicameral to cut property taxes this session and, if they don’t, he’s ready to take the issue directly to the people.
Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard proposes a 30% cut in property taxes.
“We’ve been talking in the state of Nebraska about property tax relief for 40 years and we’ve never gotten to this point of discussion about property taxes and so it’s good to see that we are having a discussion, but we have got to do something about it,” Erdman tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Legislative Bill 829 would provide a 50% income tax refund or credit for each dollar of property taxes which go toward the funding of public schools. Typically, 60% of the property taxes paid in Nebraska fund public education.
Erdman emphasizes his proposal would not affect local governmental funding. It would be the obligation of the state to make up the $1 billion cost of his proposal. And Erdman favors the legislature making budget cuts to pay for it.
Erdman has been working the floor during the first few days of this new legislative session, speaking with fellow senators about his proposal. He says the feedback has been positive so far. He says his proposal resonates with rural senators who represent farmers and ranchers who have had to pay hefty property tax bills, despite a drastic drop in income. It also has struck a chord with his urban colleagues, according to Erdman, likely because of increase property assessments.
He might be lobbying fellow senators about the proposal, but Erdman doesn’t really expect the Unicameral to pass it. So, Erdman is prepared to push a petition to place the issue on the November ballot.
“It doesn’t look like in a 60-day session that we’ll accomplish much in this regard, that’s why we’re going to do the petition drive,” Erdman says. “We’ll let the people decide.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]