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LB 153 & Property Tax Proposal
In the first week of debate, the Legislature considered carry-over bills from last session including a few priority bills that did not make it to the floor before we adjourned sine die. Senator Brewer’s LB 153 at the request of the Governor was one of these bills. LB 153 would allow a 50% exemption for military retirement benefit income. The bill was advanced to Select File with a 46-0 vote with 3 Excused – Not Voting. This is a fantastic step in the right direction for Nebraskans veterans. I am excited to get this across the finish line and signed by the Governor to make our state more competitive in veteran recruitment.
The Revenue Committee on Tuesday introduced their new plan to reduce local property taxes. LB 974 will have its public hearing on January 22nd. Senator Linehan and the Revenue Committee have worked tirelessly on this bill and I am hopeful to see a positive outcome, as achieving property tax relief remains my top priority for this session.
The current proposal would increase state aid for rural schools to reduce reliance on property taxes without raising income or sales taxes or eliminate any sales tax exemptions. The current property tax credit relief fund would also remain intact. State revenue is expected to exceed the forecasts by at least $100 million every year for the next three years.
This bill seeks to increase state aid to local schools by about $520 million over three years. It would cut down between 13% to 15% of your property tax bill. New state aid would be introduced for non-equalized rural schools based on a per-student basis. This would ensure that every school would receive state funding. This will increase state aid for more rural school districts while the larger schools will see more of a modest increase. Your property tax bill will be reduced over three years because of cuts the taxable valuation of your property paired with spending controls. For agricultural land, it will fall from 75% to 55% of actual value; for homes and commercial, it will fall from 100% to 85% of actual value.
Six of the eight Revenue Committee members signed on as co-sponsors of this bill. Governor Ricketts has voiced his support for the “framework” of the bill. Speaker Scheer has reiterated his push for major tax proposals at the beginning of session which will allow more time for consideration rather than waiting until near the end of the 60 days. Given that the bill’s hearing is next week, my best estimate is that the bill will likely come to the floor in early February.
As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln NE 68509-4604; telephone: 402-471-2733; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.