Linehan discusses property tax reform on Platte Institute webinar
Nebraska Legislature Revenue Committee Chair Sen. Lou Ann Linehan joined Platte Institute CEO Jim Vokal on unresolved tax policy issues facing the Unicameral in its scheduled return later this month. On a webinar last week, Speaker Jim Scheer emphasized that property tax reform would be a key focus area before the legislative calendar came to an end.
Linehan answered questions on why she felt property tax reform was still needed amid the economic and budgetary difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Elkhorn-area senator emphasized Nebraska ranked 40th on the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate property tax index, with 50th being the worst, which she said “impacts homeowners, farmers, and everyone.”
Linehan says the solution is LB1106, which increases state aid to school districts and in turn lowers local property taxes. Linehan emphasized that LB1106 also will help ensure that students receive significant state support in all school districts.
Moving forward, Linehan acknowledged that Nebraska needs to modernize its taxation system as a whole. Citing high tax rates compared to other Midwestern states, she mentioned that there needs to be a discussion on how to lower these rates to help all Nebraskans. However, when asked, she made it clear that expanding the sales tax was a non-starter in the Legislature.
While “$275 million has disappeared from the rainy day fund” due to COVID-19, Linehan said that the state will come close to certified revenue forecasts for the fiscal year, giving the senator confidence that significant property tax legislation can be passed before the end of the legislative session.
Here’s a video of the complete discussion: