Revenue Committee focused on rural property tax issues

Revenue Committee focused on rural property tax issues

News from Lincoln tells us that the Revenue Committee has agreed on an approach to the property tax problem in Nebraska.

“…a multi-year plan to address high property taxes should first target help for farmers and ranchers, with a particular emphasis on relief in school districts with high property tax levies…”

As of right now, the committee plans to take the unexpected revenue surplus and use that money to spend on property tax relief.  Prior proposals of expanding the sales tax base by removing exemptions for services does not appear to be part of the plan as of this writing.

“…valuations of agricultural land would be dropped from 75% to 55% when it comes to computing taxes for K-12 education in the first year of the new plan. In addition, local schools would get $100 million in additional state aid, either distributed on a per-pupil basis or as a percentage of a district’s overall costs…”

My concerns with a 3-year plan is that the nation is experiencing the longest run bull market in history and we can’t expect it to continue forever.  With that in mind, it looks like urban property taxpayers in Nebraska might be waiting longer than they think for relief if this is the plan, because I expect another recession in the next 3 years (and so do many others!).

Another caveat is that this article is focusing on what the Revenue Committee wants to do with the surplus of forecasted revenue.  The Appropriations Committee is the group that drafts the spending plan and there might be needs in the state that haven’t been discussed with everyone yet.  Time will tell, but I anticipate there to be more discussion on the property tax plan before this legislature convenes in January.

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