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Last week the legislature gave second-round approval on my bill LB 126 and amendment 2380. This amendment made the following changes to the bill: A limited permit to hunt deer issued to a qualifying landowner would run Saturday, Sunday, and Monday immediately preceding the opening day of firearm deer season. No more than four permits may be issued per qualifying landowner or designated members of his or her immediate family. Of those four permits no more than two permits may be issued to persons who are younger than nineteen years of age and no more than two permits may be issued to persons who are nineteen years of age or older. This amendment would limit one permit per person. Lastly, the cost is five dollars per permit.
The Revenue Committee gave a committee priority designation to LB 974. The bill will allow the ability to lower property taxes and change school funding in Nebraska. On February 13th the bill was advanced out of the Revenue Committee along with committee amendment AM 2433. The committee amendment would strike the entire original bill in place of new language. The amendment would repeal the Personal Property Tax Relief Act beginning with 2020’s tax year; which spans from January 1st to December 31st, 2020. It would also lower the taxable valuation for residential and commercial assessed valuation for school districts, starting in 2020 to 95%, 2021 to 91% and 2022 and thereafter to 87% of actual value. Ag land taxable valuations would also be reduced, starting in 2020 to 65%, 2021 60% and 2022 and thereafter to 55% of actual value. The statutory maximum tax rate for school districts for fiscal year 2022-2023 is $1.05 per $100 of taxable valuation. After the 2023 fiscal year, each school district will have its own statutory maximum levy. The maximum levy will be 5 cents per $100 of taxable valuation plus the local effort rate of $1.00 or the calculated local formula contribution. School districts that have passed a levy override prior to the effective date of this act will have access to a levy exclusion for the 5-year period of their levy override. This bill should be debated this week. Once that happens I will have a better idea if it is going anywhere. Schools are opposed to the current form of this bill. It remains to be seen if we can amend it to their satisfaction.
Senator Wendy DeBoer from Omaha introduced LB 1073 which was referenced to the Education Committee. This bill would allow more state funding to school districts and reduce our reliance on property taxes by making three changes: Ag land valuation would be lowered from 75% to 55% of its actual value within the TEEOSA formula only. Secondly, the local effort rate would be decreased from one dollar to ninety-nine cents. Lastly, each school district would receive 7.5% in basic funding aid which is a new source of state aid. This bill also creates a 16 member School Finance Review Commission. They are tasked with preparing a final report with recommendations on maintaining adequate and equitable funding for public schools.