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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Office of Senator Tom Briese, (402)471-2631
Senator Briese Introduces Property Tax Relief Proposal
Lincoln, NE – Senator Tom Briese of Albion announced today that he has introduced a bill that will put Nebraska on a path to reducing over-reliance on property taxes and adequately funding education in the state. Briese said, “This bill represents the culmination of a broad-based, bipartisan effort consisting of education groups and property tax interests including agricultural, residential, and commercial property taxpayers. The bill will provide the property tax relief that all hard-working Nebraskans deserve, while at the same time protecting the ability of our schools to prepare our young folks for the jobs and careers of the 21st century.”
Briese went on to say that his bill would provide immediate property tax relief, would identify the sources of revenue to fund the relief, and would provide soft caps to taxing authority to ensure long term property tax relief while protecting education. Noting Census Bureau data suggesting Nebraska is 49th in the country in the percentage of K-12 education funded with state dollars, Briese said, “For far too long, our state has relied too heavily on property taxes to fund our schools. Its time the state stepped up and funded its share of K-12.”
Finally, Briese stressed the significance of the various stakeholders and senators he anticipates backing his proposal. “Sustainable tax reform which protects education must travel a collaborative, bipartisan path. And I believe that path exists,” he said. He also stated, “Because of the many stakeholders involved, the bill was a product of much negotiation, and most likely adjustments to it will continue.” Finally, Briese noted, “I believe that Nebraskans deserve a fair and balanced tax structure. But I also recognize there is nothing we do that is more important than how we educate our children. This bill affirms both of those principles.”
The 2018 legislative session is only a few weeks away. It will begin on January 3rd, and will run until mid-April. I would like to take this time to give you some of my thoughts on the upcoming session, and to give you the opportunity to send me some of your thoughts.
During the 2017 session, much less was done in the legislature than many Nebraskans -myself included- had hoped. Several weeks at the beginning were slowed down by a contentious debate over the rules, and a number of controversial bills held up progress as they were each subjected to a filibuster. A budget shortfall of nearly a billion dollars meant that many state programs saw smaller increases in funding than they had been expecting, and a small number experienced cuts. In 2018, I believe that we will all anticipate some deja vu, as projected revenues have not yet begun to move upward again. This will mean another session of limited funds for new programs, and more time spent revising the budget.
I also know that property taxes will be a major issue once more. I will introduce bills addressing the burden of property taxes that our farmers and ranchers have struggled under for years, and which is now also shared by many of our friends in town. I am certain that other senators will also bring bills to tackle the issues of property taxes. Additionally, those who pressed hard last year for state income tax breaks will certainly keep up their efforts. I am hopeful, however, that a reasonable compromise can be reached, by which Nebraskans of all stripes can see the tax relief which will be the most beneficial to their communities, businesses, and families.
I’d also like to hear about what matters to you. As a favor to me, I ask that you take a short 5-minute survey on what life is like where you live, how you feel about some government services, and what issues matter the most to you. You can find the survey at surveymonkey.com/R/Briese2017 or by visiting my legislative website or facebook page and clicking on the link to the survey. I will take the feedback you give me extremely seriously, and I will use your thoughts to inform how I vote in the Legislature next year. I intend to make this a yearly way by which I can hear from all of you.
Finally, while I will continue to submit columns to this paper every two weeks during the legislative session, I’d like to invite you to sign up for my newsletter mailing list at eepurl.com/c-m87j. The link will also be available on my legislative website and Facebook page. I plan to use this to reach out to you in the future when the most important topics come up. I also encourage you to let your friends and neighbors know about both the survey and the newsletter.
Thank you so much for taking the time to give me your feedback, and for trusting me to represent the very finest people in our state.
Senator Tom Briese
Nebraska Unicameral Legislature
1445 K Street Room 1120
Lincoln, NE 68508
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lincoln, NE – Nebraska State Senator Tom Briese today announced his support for a ballot initiative as part of a comprehensive plan to deliver property tax relief to the state. “Nebraskans from one end of the state to the other are demanding property tax relief,” Briese said. “And when we collect $1.2 billion more in property taxes than income taxes, and $1.5 billion more in property taxes than state, local and motor vehicle sales taxes, it’s clear that Nebraskans deserve that relief.”
“There were bills introduced this year that would have yielded substantial and significant property tax relief, but failed to make it to the floor of the legislature. The bills that did make it to floor debate would have yielded only minimal relief.”
“Many of us have the political will to deliver substantial and significant property tax relief. But the will of the legislature, yielding to outside interests, is questionable. That is why we propose taking this issue to the people by placing it on the ballot.”
“But property tax relief requires a multi-faceted approach. So rest assured that we will continue our efforts at property tax relief within the legislature. I anticipate that a package of proposals will be brought forth, including spending restraints, tying property tax relief to triggers, eliminating tax loopholes to replace property taxes, and valuation reform.”
“However, because of the uncertain political will to do what is needed within the legislature, I believe that a ballot proposal will be the cornerstone of any property tax relief package. And because of this uncertainty, I believe it is imperative that we get this issue to the voters.”
I would like to invite the high school students of the 41st district to participate in the Nebraska Unicameral Youth Legislature this summer from June 11 through 14 in Lincoln. This is a truly unique experience for students in Nebraska to experience out truly unique legislative body – from the inside!
The Unicameral Youth Legislature gives behind-the-scenes access to students with an interest in public office, government, politics, law, public policy, debate, or public speaking. Students will learn about the inner workings of the Legislature directly from senators and staff. A number of $100 scholarships are available, as well as the Greg Adams Civic Scholarship, which covers the full cost of admission and requires a short essay submission.
There are few things more important to the future success of our nation, our state, and especially our rural communities than young people finding an interest and a passion in policy and civic engagement. If there is a high schooler in your life who might enjoy this program, please pass this information on to him or her.
The Unicameral Youth Legislature is coordinated by the Office of the Clerk of the Legislature. Housing and recreational activities are coordinated by UNL’s Extension 4-H Youth Development Office as part of the Big Red Summer Camps program.
For more information about this incredible program, go to www.Nebraskalegislature.gov/uyl or call (402)471-2788. The deadline for registration is May 15.
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