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POLICY WATCH

Property Tax Relief Package Advances to Final Reading 

This week featured a lot of wins for agriculture at the Nebraska Legislature where several priorities advanced to Final Reading, last step before sending it to the Governor’s desk for his signature. The biggest hurdles have been overcome for a lot of our priority legislation at this point. 

Our highest priority of the session, LB243 (Briese), adds funding to the Property Tax Credit Fund, removes property tax asking authority for general funds from community colleges, and caps revenue growth of school district spending to three percent. The bill passed with an amendment intended to address the inequities between future loads on property taxes compared to income taxes while adding an escalator mechanism after 2026 to ensure property tax relief continues to grow at the same rate as valuations increase. This bill alone will deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in property tax relief. 

Following the advancement of LB243 was the debate on income tax relief, LB754 (Linehan). Nebraska Farm Bureau supports this bill. Included in this package are tax credits for childcare that NEFB is key in supporting. While other areas of the bill were eliminated, the phased in reduction of income tax rates to 3.99 percent over several years, remained intact.  

Ethanol Incentive Bill Moves Forward 

The long-awaited, Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) supported ethanol bill was passed on Select File. LB562 (Dorn) is an incentive for gas stations to carry E-15. The bill advanced to Final Reading with a committee amendment that ensures a mandate will only begin after several years if retailers have not sufficiently increased the sale of E-15. It also included an amendment to enhance the Beginning Farmer program which provides tax exemptions and credits for beginning farmers and livestock producers and for owners of certain agricultural assets who rent those assets to them. It improves upon the program by increasing the net worth cap to $750,000, not including retirement savings in that net worth calculation, and removing limitations on acreage. The passage of the E-15 bill with the Beginning Farmer amendment was a big win for Nebraska agriculture! We look forward to its passage on Final Reading. 

This week also saw many other measures advanced to Final Reading within larger packages including the passage of the budget, 80 percent pay for special education funding by state and federal dollars, foundation student aid of $1,500 per student, a billion dollars towards schools, full funding for the Perkins County Canal project, and county bridge match funding.  

We are far from done, but this was a successful week. We will continue to work hard to bring it all home in the remaining 13 days.  

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