News Release: Legislative Testimonies for January 24
Contact: Adam Weinberg
Phone: (402) 452-3737
Legislative Testimony for January 24
Limits on Property Taxes & Bond Provisions
LINCOLN, NE – The Platte Institute will testify on two bills before the Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and three bills in the Revenue Committee today.
Platte Institute Policy Director Sarah Curry will testify in the Revenue Committee in support of Sen. Lou Ann Linehan’s Legislative Bill 103 in State Capitol Room 1524. The hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. and the bill is currently second on the agenda.
LB103 is a property tax limitation that would prevent many automatic property tax increases as assessed valuations rise. A public hearing about any increase would have to be held.
As the bill’s statement of intent describes in one example, if valuations increase 20 percent on the whole, then local political subdivision levies would be reduced 20 percent. Then, a public hearing of the local political subdivision would have to held, and a vote would have to be taken if the subdivisions wanted to adopt the property tax increase the valuation change would allow.
The bill would apply to counties, municipalities, school districts, learning communities, sanitary and improvement districts, natural resources districts, educational service units, and community colleges.
“LB103 is timely because analysis conducted by the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank found that property valuations are one of the main components to our state’s extraordinarily high property tax burden,” said Sarah Curry.
Because Nebraska’s housing market has experienced the sixth strongest rate of growth in the entire country over the last decade, Curry says taxpayers need the opportunity to be heard before local political subdivisions accept a windfall from valuation increases.
“While LB103 does not immediately reduce the amount of revenue collected at the local level, it does create an important limitation to prevent automatic tax increases without input from taxpayers,” said Curry.
Curry will also provide neutral testimony on two bills in the Revenue Committee: LB158, which would impose a four year freeze on property taxes, and LB183, which would reduce agricultural and horticultural assessment ratios to 1 percent when calculating school bond taxes.
Platte Institute Director of Government Relations Nicole Fox will testify in the Government Committee in support of Sen. Tom Briese’s Legislative Bills 20 and 204 in State Capitol room 1510. The hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. and the bills are the first two items on the agenda.
LB20 and LB204 are similar proposals that require voter approval for bonds issued by public building commissions and interlocal agreements between local political subdivisions.
“When subdivisions issue bonds without voter approval it results in a lack of accountability and transparency with respect to local government debt,” said Nicole Fox.
“ Lowering taxpayer exposure to municipal debt starts with two key rules: all debt should be put to a referendum vote concurrent with a general or primary election, and governments should report the full financing costs and expected repayment plan for any debt before a vote or put the tax increase amount associated with such debt on the ballot,” said Fox.
Fox and Curry’s testimonies are posted online at PlatteInstitute.org/Testimony.
To schedule an interview on these topics, please contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 452-3737 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. More media resources are available at PlatteInstitute.org/Media.