Speaker Jim Scheer had hoped the Unicameral would reach agreement on a property tax relief package, but a last-minute attempt at compromise fell short.
Scheer called several senators together for weekend talks about property tax relief the weekend before the final three full days of legislative debate. Select senators met for two days for nearly eight hours yet couldn’t find agreement on a proposal.
On that following Monday, Scheer passed over three property tax relief proposals for other legislation. None of the proposals to cut or offset property taxes had attracted enough support to overcome a filibuster. Property tax relief, including that proposed by Gov. Pete Ricketts, died for the session.
Scheer said he called the principles of various property tax proposals together, insisting the lgeislators could do better than they had. The effort fell short.
“And I don’t know that there was that aha moment where I decided, ‘Oh, my God, we’re not going to get anything done,’” Scheer tells Nebraska Radio Network. “There were really, I felt, good discussions.”
Scheer believes the Unicameral had a good legislative session in 2018, despite the failure of property tax relief and despite some tense moments during legislative debate.
Tension rose a number of times during debate. At times, debate became personal, seemingly casting a shadow over the session.
Scheer cautions against making too much of it.
“We can just be mad as hell at each other during the day and we can fight like heck against each other on the floor over a bill, but when we walk out, we’re slapping each other’s back and we’re friends and we walk out the door and we don’t hold grudges for the most part,” according to Scheer.
Scheer opposes the efforts of 13 state senators to recall the Unicameral into a special session to concentrate on property tax relief. Scheer says the legislature has been working on the issue for months. He doesn’t see that changing in a special session.
Also, Scheer had concerns about the initiative petition underway which seeks to place a property tax relief package on the November ballot. Scheer says supporters of the proposal only tell one side of the story: the tax cuts property owners can expect. Scheer says they fail to tell about the cost of the proposal to state government.
Legislators return to the Capitol today for the final day of the 60-day legislative session.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]