The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at email@example.com
A blessed Easter to everyone! The Legislature is in recess until Tuesday the 23rd and the four day weekend is welcomed by those not able to get home on a regular basis from the Capitol to their home districts across the state. It is also welcomed by those of us involved in agriculture as we try to catch up on field work and working livestock after a very long winter and late spring.
Two of my bills were passed into law this week. LB 239, as amended into LB 212, and LB 472. Looking back on the weeks since I took office, I see how much work went into these issues and the effort required to move a bill through the legislative process. Representing you and the varied concerns of District 30 is definitely a full time job, which I have enjoyed very much.
The Revenue Committee has released a tax reform bill in an effort to revise school funding and address property taxes. Because this is an amendment to LB 289 and has new components, a public hearing will be held on Wednesday the 24th at 4pm.
This bill has a large number of moving parts, none of which are set in stone at this point. I will give you a summary of the basics of the bill. Dealing with state aid to schools will help provide property tax relief. This would be accomplished by moving revenue generated by a state sales tax increase directly into a property tax credit fund and into school aid. Every school district would get a third of its funding from state aid.
The proposed state sales tax increase, the first one since 2002, would be three-quarters of a cent. In addition, some exemptions would be removed, meaning we would pay on items previously excluded from sales tax such as pop, candy and a few services. The tax on cigarettes would rise to $1 per pack.
The Revenue Committee calculates that property owners would receive a ten percent reduction in valuation, with the average decrease in property taxes at 20%. Eventually these measures would result in $540 million in property tax relief, although not right away. The bill includes provisions for year one and year two to phase in the changes.
LB 289 would put a lid on spending based on the consumer price index (CPI), but also allow for student growth in a school district. As I mentioned, the state would contribute at least 33% of school district funding.
To say this is a complicated issue would be an understatement. There are eight members on the Revenue Committee and there is not consensus among the members on how property tax relief should be accomplished. However, they do agree that something must be done in a state that has some of the highest property tax in the country. To that end, I will be studying the bill, watching the public hearing on the 24th, and look forward to the debate on the floor.
Please send your comments and concerns to my email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402-471-2620. Thank you.