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Nearly 80 percent of Nebraskans say they need property tax relief. My highest priority as a Nebraska State Senator has been to provide significant and meaningful property tax relief to all Nebraskans.
For this reason I introduced LR3CA in the Nebraska Legislature earlier this year. LR3CA is a Legislative Resolution that would put a measure on the 2020 ballot, allowing Nebraskans to decide for themselves whether they need substantial property tax relief or not. The ballot measure associated with LR3CA is a constitutional amendment which would allow Nebraska property owners to claim 35 percent of their property tax bill as a credit or refund on their Nebraska State Income Tax Return.
Unfortunately, the Legislature’s Revenue Committee never advanced LR3CA out of committee. I anticipated that this would happen, so last year I began working with some concerned citizens who shared my concern for providing property tax relief for our residents. These concerned citizens began a petition drive to put the same measure as LR3CA on the 2020 ballot. Today you may visit their website at: www.truenebraskans.com.
The petition drive is going strong. Although a recent leadership dispute in the organization had to be overcome, it unfortunately lead to some misinformation about the petition drive being reported in the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper. That information should be read as fake news. Those running the petition drive are more organized than ever before, and I am confident that True Nebraskans LLC will be successful in putting this measure on your 2020 ballot. So, please consider signing it when it comes to your neck of the woods.
Another way I have sought to provide property tax relief to those who need it most is through LB 482, which I successfully amended onto LB 512. LB512 passed on Final Reading on Friday. My amendment is designed to bring property tax relief to those with destroyed property. I believe those suffering the destruction of their property by tornados, fires, and floods deserve property tax relief most. No one should have to pay property taxes on the full assessed value of their property on January 1 once nature leaves them with only the ghost of a house, a barn which no longer exists, or a damaged agricultural field.
The bill will direct County Assessors to reassess property for its value on the date of its destruction. Whatever the value is on the date of its destruction is what the value that property will have for the entire year. This will result in significant and meaningful property tax relief for those with destroyed property. However, in order to give each county board of equalization time to make reports and to hear appeals, this can only apply to those whose properties have been destroyed before July 1 of each year. Considering that most tornados and floods occur during the spring months, I believe most victims of natural disasters in our state will get the property tax relief they need.
The bill will cover those who have suffered losses from this year’s blizzards and floods. The amendment is retroactive to cover those whose properties have been destroyed since January 1, 2019. I expect Gov. Ricketts to sign the bill into law soon. So, if you have suffered property losses from this year’s blizzards and floods, please contact your County Assessor’s office right away. The deadline to apply for reassessment is July 15.
Finally, as we celebrate Memorial Day let us remember to honor those who have paid the ultimate price for our liberty. Throughout our history other nations have at times been ruled by evil men, who pursued acts of aggression against their own people, against other nations, and even against the United States. During those times the people of the United States of America rose up against those evil regimes and acted in the morally responsible way by sacrificing their own posterity to bring these tyrants down, restoring peace to the region, and spreading our values of freedom and human rights throughout the world. Remember, all gave some, and some gave all!