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Dan Hughes

Sen. Dan Hughes

District 44

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We have come to the point in the Legislative calendar where our scheduled late night debates have begun. Speaker Hilgers announced that it is possible the Legislature will stay in session until at least 7:00 pm on certain nights, but we could go later if warranted, up until possibly 11:59 pm. These late nights are scheduled to help us get through all of the Speaker, committee, and Senator priority bills before the end of session.

Much of last week was focused on property tax issues. Senator Tom Briese introduced LB 2 which reduces the ag-land valuation used when it comes to paying for school bond issues.   Under current law, agricultural land is valued at 75 percent of its actual value for purposes of property taxation. As introduced, LB 2 would have changed ag-land to be valued at 30 percent of its value for purposes of school district taxes levied to pay the principal and interest on bonds. A Revenue Committee amendment that was adopted changed that to be valued at 50 percent for that same purpose. This bill, as amended, advanced to Select File.  

Another bill debated extensively late last week was LB 408, also introduced by Senator Tom Briese. LB 408, provides that a political subdivision’s property tax request, the amount of property taxes requested to be raised through its levy, could not exceed the prior year’s request by more than 3 percent, excluding the amount needed to pay the principal and interest on approved bonds. Voters for the political subdivision would be able to override the limit with a majority vote at an election.  Senator Briese explained that property tax requests have increased on average 4.5 percent over the last 10 years which is two to three times faster than inflation and wage growth.  The bill was an attempt to put a reasonable restriction on that growth.  A pending Revenue Committee amendment on the bill would give political subdivisions a second mechanism to exceed the 3 percent limit. At one point in the long debate there were more than 20 amendments filed on the bill. The urban/rural divide was apparent in this debate and in the end, cloture (a procedure to end debate and vote on the bill) did not garner enough votes.  A cloture motion needs 33 votes. It failed with a vote of 29-8. The failed cloture motion means that the debate on that bill ceases for the day, and it will likely not be placed on the agenda again this session.

This week we will continue debate on more legislation dealing with revenue and taxation.

 

Sen. Dan Hughes

District 44
Room 2108
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2805
Email: dhughes@leg.ne.gov
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