Essentially the same as Legislative Bill 829 sponsored by Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard, the petition would give property owners a refundable income tax credit equal to half of the property taxes collected by their local school district.
“When both rural and urban people are saying the same thing, I think the legislature should listen, but they haven’t and now we’re running a proposal through to make sure they have a voice in November,” Trent Fellers, spokesman for Yes to Property Tax Relief, tells Nebraska Radio Network.
At the end of the 2017 legislative session, Erdman held a news conference during which he stated if the Unicameral failed to approved substantial property tax relief he would take the issue directly to the voters.
A few property tax proposals have been filed this legislative session, but this is a short session and with only around 30 days left, it doesn’t appear there is time to move anything substantial.
Gov. Pete Ricketts supports LB 947, sponsored by Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion, chair of the Revenue Committee.
Under the governor’s proposal, the legislature would convert the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund to provide refundable income tax credits for agricultural property owners as well as homeowners. Tax credits would at 12% with a cap of $280 for homeowners. The credits would increase by 2% every other year until they reached 30% in 2031. The residential caps would rise $50 with each increase.
The plan calls for $200 million in property tax relief for agricultural and residential property as well as $40 million in cuts to individual and corporate income taxes.
Ricketts has promoted his plan as sustainable and one that fits into the current state budget.
In the news release issued by Yes to Property Tax Relief, Fellers is quoted as saying the petition began due in part to the, “…ongoing failure of the Governor and legislature to address the problem…”
Fellers tells Nebraska Radio Network that Ricketts’ alternative proposal simply doesn’t bring enough property tax relief.
“It’s the number one issue in the state and something hasn’t come out of the Revenue Committee and there are four or five proposals that are out there and a few of them aren’t good toward property taxpayers and one of those is the governor’s proposal,” according to Feller.
Fellers says LB 947 doesn’t provide real relief and amounts to a 6% cut in property taxes while the petition drive, if successful, would cut property taxes by 30%.
As for the billion-dollar hole the proposal would leave in the state budget, Fellers says it would be up to the legislature to make the adjustments to fit the new budget reality.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1 min.]