A tax-cut package has yet to emerge from the Revenue Committee and time is running out on this legislative session.
Revenue Committee chair, Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion, carries Gov. Pete Ricketts’ tax relief package and says discussions remain underway on it.
“We’re trying to provide tax relief in a responsible fashion,” Smith says.
Smith and the governor emphasize that point.
Legislative Bill 947 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 begin 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.
It competes with a couple of other tax cut packages in the Revenue Committee, one by Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard and another by Sen. Tom Briese of Albion.
The proposal from Erdman, LB 829, has attracted the most attention. It would cut property taxes by $1.1 billion, a 30% cut in property taxes statewide. It would give property owners a refundable income tax credit equal to half of the property taxes collected by their local school district. Erdman has said if the legislature doesn’t adopt the measure, it will go to the ballot in November to be decided by the voters. A petition drive is underway.
This is the short, 60-day session. Legislators begin day 37 when they re-convene Tuesday.
Smith indicates the alternative measures to the governor’s package don’t seem to have the votes needed to move out of committee to the full floor for debate. He adds whether LB 947 makes it through this session remains up in the air
“At the beginning of the session, I said it was a narrow path. I will be the first to admit that path has narrowed even more. It’s kind of getting to the point to where it may be close to a trail, but I still see a small path.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]