NEFB Newspaper

Nebraska Farm Bureau worked to halt the Southeast Community College tax levy

Nebraska Farm Bureau was successful in halting Southeast Community College’s (SCC) plan to increase property taxes by nearly 40%. The SCC Board of Governors voted to not increase the tax levy after months of saying otherwise. The tax levy will remain flat as the college heads into its final year of collecting property taxes before a legislative change goes into effect and the state provides general funding for community colleges.

Nebraska Farm Bureau along with other organizations publicly opposed the proposed rise in the levy. The coalition reminded SCC that raising property taxes at a time when property valuations are growing on average by 15% across its 15-county service area, without definitive plans about how and when the money will be spent, is simply irresponsible. More importantly, all taxpayers in the state would have been on the hook for nearly $20 million that would grow at 3.5% annually. NEFB President Mark McHargue appreciates SCC making this decision.

“At a time when taxpayers are experiencing increased property valuations, we believe this shows a commonsense approach of working with the Legislature on community college operating budgets,” said McHargue.

SCC will continue to levy 7.37 cents per $100 of valuation on property owners in the 15-county area instead of increasing it to 9.25 cents per $100 of valuation. Though the tax levy remains flat, a steep increase in valuations means that taxpayers will still pay more to SCC this year compared to last year. However, not raising the levy will save property owners thousands. Nemaha County Farm Bureau Board Member Riley Grable is thankful his operation is not incurring more expense.

“With valuations continuing to go up, I already will be paying more in property taxes this year. Not raising the SCC tax levy means the burden is lessened, and I can put more money toward my operation,” said Grable.

Nebraska Farm Bureau members like Matthew Erickson, a Johnson County producer, knew that Nebraska Farm Bureau would advocate on their behalf. “I know I can count on Nebraska Farm Bureau to keep me informed and make my voice heard. I appreciate Nebraska Farm Bureau’s effort to take action even when I can’t get away from the farm. Because of them, I can keep working on my operation and have a say in what happens in my community,” said Erickson.

While Nebraska Farm Bureau supports the mission of Southeast Community College and other state community colleges to provide workforce training and educational opportunities, this win provides another example of how effective the grassroot movement is at getting members’ voices heard. Nebraska Farm Bureau works hard to ensure our members have a seat at the table.

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