Gering Senator John Stinner’s priority bill that would extend three cents of special taxing authority for the state’s NRD’s is dead for this session after it failed to survive a cloture vote Wednesday.
Opponents saw the measure as a way to provide property tax relief and claim the NRD’s have not use used much of the authority in the past. But Stinner told his colleagues that if expected mandates on water flows come down as expected in the next year or two, the NRD’s need the funding to react.
North Platte NRD General Manager John Berge said the failure of the measure to pass doesn’t give his organization backstop funding for expected new requirements on water.
Berge said, ” Without this levy authority and if the second increment numbers are as high as we think they might be, we’re not going to have the resources to meet some of those obligations, which will require additional regulations. It’s as simple as that.”
Berge and Stinner were both disappointed in the lack of support from rural lawmakers, Berge in particular citing opposition from Senator Steve Erdman of Bayard. Erdman has made it clear he feels not extending the levy authority provides needed property tax relief for farmers.
Stinner said despite his best efforts, many of his colleagues are not educated enough on water and its importance to the state’s economy.