News Releases

Nebraska Farm Bureau Opposes SCC Proposed Tax Levy Increase

LINCOLN, NEB. – Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) is asking the Southeast Community College (SCC) Board of Governors to exercise fiscal restraint in its tax ask for the upcoming fiscal year. NEFB joined a coalition of stakeholders that include the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Independent Business Association, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, and Nebraska Soybean Association in sending a letter in opposition of SCC’s 2024 budget and associated levy increase to SCC.

While the coalition organizations support the mission of Southeast Community College to provide workforce training, our members believe in fiscal restraint. The coalition reminded SCC that raising property taxes at a time when property valuations are growing on average by 15 percent across its 15-county service area without definitive plans about how and when the money will be spent is simply irresponsible.

Reducing Nebraska’s overreliance on property taxes and seeking a more balanced system to fund education has long been a policy priority for NEFB. Through the work of Farm Bureau, the Legislature passed LB 243 in 2023 which included a funding change for community colleges. Beginning in 2025, community colleges will no longer be allowed to levy a property tax for their general fund budget. Instead, the State will provide funding for the general fund of all six community college districts, including SCC. This change is in line with the funding of the University of Nebraska and Nebraska State College systems. Community colleges will still have authority to levy property taxes for capital construction. Additionally, the colleges will receive an automatic 3.5 percent funding increase annually from the State, determined by the baseline budget set for fiscal year 2023-2024.

In the letter, the coalition said the attempt by SCC to get more revenue in place before the legislative change of LB 243 goes into effect is wrong. According to the coalition, SCC’s leadership has claimed the cost to taxpayers will be minimized because LB 243 includes a provision for refundable income tax credits to be claimed by taxpayers based on their 2024 property tax bill. However, this relief will not be extended to any business or family that rents or leases property. More importantly, all taxpayers in the state will be on the hook for nearly $20 million that will be growing at 3.5 percent annually.

NEFB recognizes the essential role SCC plays in promoting economic development and understands the inherent challenges to balance needs and available resources. In the letter, NEFB and the adjoining organizations told the SCC Board of Governors that this budget is the wrong approach and urged the Board to find balance between the needs of taxpayers and the needs of SCC.

SCC will be hosting its required public meeting to discuss the budget on Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the City County Building in Lincoln. Taxpayers can attend to learn more about this property tax increase. SCC will hold its final budget hearing Sept. 26 at the SCC Milford Campus and will then vote to finalize the budget.

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 51,000 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.

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