Dave Wright, president of the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska, says ICON plans to move forward with a suit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s property tax law.
Wright says, “We passed a resolution to support a lawsuit against the state to do something about real estate taxes.”
ICON is backing legislation proposed by Senator Steve Erdmann of Bayard that would offer a 50% rebate on personal income taxes to offset property taxes.
Wright says property taxes in Nebraska have risen dramatically over the past few years.
“Nebraska has the highest agricultural real estate taxes in the country with the average farmer-rancher paying $22,000,” Wright says. “The next closest one to us is California at $13,000. We’re looking for some kind of a shift.”
Wright, who owns a cattle rancher’s newspaper and is president of his local school board, says Nebraska’s property tax system is out of whack, especially as it relates to education.
“Nebraska has a messed up system when it comes to funding the school,” Wright says. “It’s very unequal. If the constitution is going to say that education should be free — and are you ready for this? — it says from ages 5 to 21, I find it amazing that no one has stepped forward and insisted the state pay for their first three years of college.”
Senator Erdman suggests the state provide a 50-percent income tax credit for each dollar in property taxes which goes to fund public schools, a proposal that could cost a billion dollars. Erdman says if the Unicameral refuses to act, he’ll work to place the issue on the November ballot.
Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton