LINCOLN, NEB. – A proposal by the Legislature’s Revenue Committee that seeks to lower property taxes and reform the way Nebraska funds K-12 schools has gained the support of the Nebraska Farm Bureau. According to Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson LB 974 makes progress in several areas of concern for the organization.
“LB 974 is a good bill. It provides property tax relief for all Nebraskans, including farm and ranch families who’ve experienced the greatest property tax increases. It also puts the state on the path of taking back responsibility for funding K-12 education; a responsibility that’s been pushed more and more onto property owners over the years,” said Nelson.
The property tax savings in the bill are achieved largely by using state dollars to replace property taxes now used to fund schools. The bill lowers property valuations for purposes of calculating state aid to schools in the state’s aid formula. The bill also directly lowers valuations for purpose of calculating property taxes due to local school districts.
Nelson says LB 974 also addresses a long-standing concern the organization has had as it relates to the treatment of Nebraska students.
“Under our current school funding system we have situations where the state is paying for the vast majority of the basic education costs for students in some school districts, while at the same time students in others schools, many of them rural in nature, receive little to no state support in comparison. We believe the state has an obligation to help pay for the basic education of all students, regardless of where they live,” said Nelson. “LB 974 moves in a positive direction by guaranteeing that at least 15 percent of the basic education costs of a school are provided for by the state, in addition to establishing additional per-student foundation aid for all schools.”
A public hearing before the Revenue Committee on LB 974 is scheduled for Wed. Jan. 22 at 1:30 p.m. (CT) in room 1524 of the State Capitol.
“I encourage Nebraskans to let their senator know that they support this important piece of legislation that recognizes the importance of quality education for our students, while respecting the need to reduce property tax pressures on Nebraska taxpayers,” said Nelson.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service, and advocacy efforts. More than 58,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit www.nefb.org.