Newswire

POLICY WATCH

Refundable Income Tax Credit Quadruples in Second Year

Nebraska property owners can expect a bigger refund this year based on property taxes paid to fund K-12 schools. The Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) supported Refundable Income Tax Credit created by LB 1107 is set to grow as tax revenues exceed expectations. As Gov. Pete Ricketts outlined in his column this week, the credit will jump from $125 million statewide last year to $548 million this year. Taxpayers will receive this credit when they file their state income taxes in 2022. This is a “big win” for property taxpayers who’ve been seeking relief, but there is still much work to be done when it comes to comprehensive tax reform. Nebraska Farm Bureau president Mark McHargue continued work on NEFB’s policy priority during a recent testimony before the Legislature’s Revenue Committee on an interim study to examine Nebraska’s tax structure and reform.

“It is vital we continue to work toward reforms that better balance the way we fund state priorities like education, while enacting a tax structure that invites growth opportunities not just for farmers and ranchers, but for all Nebraskans. Our highest priority is balancing the tax burden. Sales, income, and property taxes should each shoulder one third of the burden,” McHargue said.

Nebraska Farm Bureau will continue to be an advocate for taxpayers, and we look forward to working with all of our elected leaders to make property tax relief and tax reform a reality.

Senators Look to Invest American Rescue Plan Funds

Rural economic develop and supply chain resiliency. Those are two top areas where the Nebraska Ag Leaders coalition say American Rescue Plan Act funds should be invested. Ken Herz of Nuckolls County shared that message during a hearing with the Legislature’s Appropriation Committee on behalf of the Ag Leaders, of which Nebraska Farm Bureau is a member. The Ag Leaders coalition took great care to suggest areas of opportunity to invest American Rescue Plan funds that build upon and enhance existing, successful, programs to further their impact in the state.

In the testimony, Herz outlined that rural economic development is more than just a line item in the Ag Leaders proposal. It includes extensive investment in broadband, young and beginning farmer programs, and business development. Existing programs like the Next Gen (beginning farmer) program, Nebraska Advantage Rural Development Act and the Broadband Bridge program are all highly successful programs that encourage and enhance rural economic development but lack adequate financial resources to reach their full potential.

Herz pointed out that investing in supply chain resiliency is a direct investment in rural Nebraska. Empty grocery store shelves are not a sight many have seen in their lifetime, and a sight we want to prevent in the future. Investing in people, hard infrastructure like roads and bridges, cyber and data security, and in programs that help expand processing capacity are a win-win for both producers and consumers in Nebraska.

Nebraska Farm Bureau will continue working with senators as they determine how to invest federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

NEFB Weighs in on Proposal to Limit Property Taxation

Nebraska Farm Bureau, on behalf of the Nebraska Ag Leaders coalition, appeared before the Legislature’s Revenue Committee as they heard testimony on LR 230, an interim study to examine a potential constitutional amendment to limit property taxation to residential property only. The testimony focused on the existence of a disproportionate burden on agriculture and commercial property owners for funding schools. While NEFB believes a quality, education is vital to everyone in the state, the state needs to find ways to fund the education system more equitably.  LR 230, introduced by Sen. Dave Murman of Glenvil, is a step in the right direction to finding solutions to the overreliance on property taxes as a means of funding K-12 education.

NEFB Pushes EPA for Continued Access to Dicamba

Nebraska Farm Bureau president Mark McHargue this week urged theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue the existing five-year registration of dicamba products. In a letter to the EPA, McHargue says the agency “must avoid continuous alteration of regulations on these products and provide certainty to producers who are already beginning to make planting decisions for next year.” Nebraska Farm Bureau is concerned that continued regulatory uncertainty will not only limit the availability of these important products but will also impact the development and approval of the next generation of crop protection products that farmers and ranchers will need in the future. Continuation of the five-year registration and label for dicamba will provide much needed certainty and availability for farmers in the years to come.

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