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Achieving structural property tax relief is my top priority in office. Although many legislators and candidates say they want property tax relief, few know how they want to achieve it. Below, you’ll find my plan on how to combat high property taxes on a structural level.
The key to structural property tax relief in Nebraska is to change how we fund K-12 education. I’ll preface by sharing that I wholeheartedly support our public schools, and any claims to the contrary are false. School districts are largely supported by a mix of state and local funding. 60-75% of a District 1 resident’s property tax bill goes towards funding your local K-12 school district. State aid for K-12 education is calculated through the 30-variable TEEOSA formula. In the 2020-2021 school year, 86% of the state’s equalization funding was provided to the 20 largest school districts in the state, leaving the remaining 224 rural school districts with a mere 14% of state equalization funding. This funding disparity puts rural property taxpayers, students, and school districts at a structural disadvantage. TEEOSA must be replaced with a simpler state funding system that provides fair funding for all school districts.
Another large part of creating structural property tax relief in Nebraska is to change how our state as a whole spends money. Spending caps are critical to prevent spending spikes by entities with the authority to levy property taxes. We must also cut unfunded state mandates on local entities and cut our state’s wasteful spending to help our local communities from having to raise property taxes to make ends meet.
Finally, I will push to change our often unpredictable market-based valuation system on agricultural land to a production-based assessment, so you are paying for what comes out of your land, not simply for the land that you own.
Many people ask me, “what about the gambling initiative?” Claims the gambling legalization initiative would provide meaningful property tax relief are false. Even the most generous estimates provided by supporters place new revenue dedicated to property tax relief at a mere $50 million annually. Nebraskans pay around $5 billion annually in property taxes. At best, the current initiatives would only provide a 1% cut to your property tax bill. The gambling initiative will not provide meaningful property tax relief.
My record in office shows a strong commitment to property tax relief. LB 1107, paired with the 2019-2020 budget and 2020 budget adjustment, provides $650 million in annual property tax relief. LB 1107 is the largest property tax relief bill passed by the Legislature in decades. LB 512, which passed in 2019, provides property tax relief to landowners whose properties have been damaged by natural disasters. LB 103, also passed in 2019, requires that all property taxing authorities host a public hearing and vote before they raise your property taxes.
Addressing Nebraska’s property tax crisis is a major undertaking, and I have both the experience and knowledge necessary to lead the charge for District 1.
As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: email@example.com