Legislative Testimony for LB412: Require an election regarding creation of a joint public agency
Good afternoon, Chairman Brewer and members of the Government, Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, my name is Nicole Fox, and I am here today to testify on behalf of the Platte Institute in support of LB412.
The Platte Institute believes this bill helps to increase voter participation and local transparency pertaining to taxes. Currently, when joint public agencies are formed for the purpose of bonding, they must go to a vote of the people, but the formation of a joint public agency with the intent of imposing an occupational tax does not require a vote of the people.
LB412 proposes that any political subdivisions in the state of Nebraska that have the authority to levy a tax or issue bonds and wishes to create a joint public agency must first obtain approval via a vote of its residents. LB412 would require that this vote go through the normal election requirements and has to be done at a regular election such as a primary or general election. Of note, when two political subdivisions join to form a joint public agency, and only one has taxing or bonding authority, the political subdivision without such authority is able to use the taxing/bonding authority of the other.
We understand that joint public agencies are formed to provide certain infrastructure and municipal services. However, whether it is for the intent of bonding or taxing, it is important these are always put to the people for a vote.
At a time when many Nebraskans desire tax relief, LB412 gives voters a voice when it comes to local taxing authority.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I am happy to answer any questions the committee may have.