Nebraska Legislative Senator Steve Erdman of Bayard was in the Panhandle this week.
He spoke at the Morrill County Farm Bureau meeting on Monday, where he discussed his proposal to alleviate property taxes for not just ag producers, but everyone in Nebraska
“It’s important to all taxpayers especially agriculture, over the last 15 years agricultural evaluations have gone up 300 percent and their taxes the same. So this is property tax relief and income tax relief,” he said.
The tax relief would return 50 percent of everything taxpayers pay to public schools, as a credit or refund. Erdman stressed the relief would be on ag land, commercial and residential.
“The schools will collect their normal taxes as they always do,” he said. “It will be the state’s responsibility to return the refund or the credit.”
Senator John Stinner of Gering and Chairman of the Appropriations Committee says the committee is willing to look at Erdman’s property tax relief proposal, and any other tax relief proposal that would be part of the budget process.
Stinner added, Erdman’s proposal and any others that come before the committee must have a funding mechanism.
“As I’ve said almost from the beginning, is that we have to have a mechanism to pay for it. So, if you have this credit that runs through the general funds, then you have to replace those dollars in some fashion,” he said.
Erdman’s proposal would provide $1.2 billion of tax credits to property owners for the dollars they provide K-12 education.
Stinner says he would also like to see tax property relief, but again there has to be some way to pay for it.
In the last session lawmakers balanced a troubled budget, of more than a billion dollar deficit. The forecasting board has continually provided projections that show the state’s revenues are not meeting the expected numbers.
Stinner says it is obvious more reductions will need to be made immediately when lawmakers convene.
“My discussions have been how deep of a cut and where to do some cutting, where to use some rainy day funds, and what combination of things is likely in balancing the budget,” he said.
The Nebraska Legislature will meet again in January for a 60 day session, as for Erdman’s tax relief, the petition is still in the making.