Tax Modernization Commission Public Hearings Underway

9/25/2013 12:00:00 PM

On Mon., Sept. 23, the Legislature's Tax Modernization Commission kicked off its public hearings around the state in Scottsbluff, in order to gather input from interested citizens as part of its comprehensive study of Nebraska's tax system. The Commission is specifically examining the distribution of property, income, and sales taxes for equity, competitiveness, stability, etc.

Approximately 165 people attended the Scottsbluff hearing, including 28 Farm Bureau members from around the Panhandle, six of whom offered testimony. With agriculture being the backbone of western Nebraska's economy, it was not surprising that the overwhelming majority of testifiers expressed a need for property tax relief, especially for agricultural landowners and young farmers and ranchers struggling with personal property tax liabilities.

The Commission continued its second day of public hearings on Tues., Sept. 24 at the North Platte Community College with a crowd numbering 100+. As of this writing, the repeated message from the first hour of testifiers again stressed the need for property tax relief for farmers and ranchers, with many suggesting that the sales tax base be broadened in order to finance new property tax relief measures. Three Farm Bureau members have testified thus far at the North Platte hearing to tell their personal stories about how increases in their property tax burdens have affected their operations in recent years.

The Commission will conclude its week of public hearings in Norfolk on Thurs., Sept. 26, and Farm Bureau members in the area are encouraged to attend and share their stories as well.

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