Farm Groups Look to Broaden Appeal for Nebraska Property Tax Reforms

December 13, 2016 01:11 PM

A Nebraska farm group that has long pushed lawmakers to lower property taxes on rural land has broadened its pitch to benefit home and business owners, but some senators are more interested in cutting income taxes.

Last week, the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation called on lawmakers and Gov. Pete Ricketts to reduce property taxes by expanding the state's sales tax base.

Steve Nelson, the group's president, says ending sales tax exemptions would generate money to offset property taxes for owners of farms, ranches, homes and businesses.

Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion says he supports property tax reforms but thinks income tax cuts should be a priority.

Any cuts could be tough as Nebraska faces an $895 million shortfall for the budget cycle that ends in 2019.

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Spell Check

Western, NE
12/13/2016 01:52 PM

  That's the problem with our state senators. Since Mike Johannes was governor, the mantra has been to lower income taxes in the state. Johannes, Heineman and to an extent Pete Ricketts have done or want to continue to lower income taxes in the state of Nebraska. It gets politicians re-elected! Since they have done that, state aid to schools, counties and municipalities has been reduced forcing property taxes up to cover the lost state aid. Not to mention creating a near $1 billion shortfall to run the state of Nebraska. The school finance law, TEEOSA, is the largest single problem for rural areas and property owners. In short, it requires school districts with a large property tax base relative to school population to pay for the local schools. Hence Lincoln and Omaha schools not only enjoy getting property tax revenue, but rural taxpayer's income taxes go as well to finance their operations and expansions! What needs to happen is a change in TEEOSA to begin with, then the utilization of property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes and lottery revenue to help fund our schools. In addition to that, sales tax revenues that are generated in a municipality needs to stay in the municipality. It also wouldn't hurt if the University of Nebraska was forced to rely on its endowment fund for normal everyday operations instead of paying off poor football coaches! It's going to take a multi-pronged approach to solve the tax issue in Nebraska. Some where also, the American people need to realize that big business hoses us each year with increases in prices! Why? All Americans need to realize that ALL costs need to go down! Not up! We need a serious period of deflation economy wide in this country!


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