A Note from the President
Act Now for Property Tax Relief!
Securing property tax relief for Nebraskans is a major priority for the Nebraska Farm Bureau and right now we have a REAL OPPORTUNITY to work with the Legislature to help deliver it. That’s why the Nebraska Farm Bureau Board of Directors have taken a position to support LB 289, the tax and education funding reform bill that advanced from the Legislature’s Revenue Committee. The bill is slated for first round legislative debate, Tuesday, May 7.
NOW IS THE TIME for us to work together to support this groundbreaking measure that implements major tax and education funding reforms!
To fix our state’s property tax issue, we must make fundamental changes in the way in which we fund schools to move away from the overreliance on property taxes. LB 289 broadens the sources used to fund education and uses those new revenues to offset and replace property taxes used to fund K-12 schools. Those new revenues would come from eliminating numerous service-based sales tax exemptions, increasing the state’s sales tax rate, and increasing cigarette taxes, among other actions.
Just as important, we need to make sure the state takes greater responsibility for covering the costs of K-12 education for ALL Nebraska students. Today, the state of Nebraska covers a substantial amount of the costs of education for some Nebraska K-12 students, while doing little or nothing to cover the costs for others. LB 289 establishes per-student Foundation aid for all schools and implements a minimum aid guarantee to ensure that at least 33.3 percent of an individual school’s needs are covered by the state.
With these major reforms, Nebraska property taxpayers could see anywhere from a 15 – 40% reduction in their property tax bills when LB 289 is fully implemented. It’s important to note that LB 289 is new property tax relief above and beyond that provided under the state’s property tax credit program.
Furthermore, LB 289 reforms will not only improve the way we fund schools and reduce property taxes, but also better balance Nebraska’s three-legged tax stool of property, sales, and income taxes.
Despite this tremendous opportunity to make changes for the benefit of Nebraska taxpayers, there are many tax users and others who oppose the bill. Governor Ricketts has made it clear that he opposes raising other revenues to offset and lower property taxes. As such, he has wrongly painted LB 289 as a bill to increase taxes and encourage new government spending. In reality, LB 289 is a solution that recognizes the severity of our state’s property tax problem and the urgency of need to address the issues. In fact, LB 289 reflects one of the LARGEST REDUCTIONS in PROPERTY TAXES in Nebraska history and contains measures to limit growth in school spending.
LB 289 is a major step forward in delivering the tax and education reforms Nebraskans are seeking. I encourage you to take this opportunity and reach out to your state senator to let them know that you support LB 289 and that you want and expect them to do the same.
Until Next Time,