Neb. Farm Bureau Says Three Year Tax Plan Could Save Millions

By: Megan Johnson Email
By: Megan Johnson Email

Taking the amount of property tax that Nebraska uses from 45 percent down to 40 percent would be a savings of more than $400 million according to the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

NeFB officials say they've been working on a tax change plan that does that, and they're hoping to see it in the Legislature soon.

The Farm Bureau says that ag land owners represent less than 3 percent of Nebraska's population, but they pay about 24 percent of the state's total property taxes.

"Our members are particularly interested on the property tax side and willing to look at maybe broadening the sales tax base to include some services and goods that everyone pays a little bit to achieve some property tax relief," says Jay Rempe, NeFB Vice President of Governmental Relations.

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson says their three-year plan would reduce Nebraska property taxes by $405 million dollars.

Year one calls for a boost to state property tax credits, and years two and three involve state and local spending reductions as well as a broader sales tax base.

Nelson says moving it through the Legislature will be challenging, but with members in all 93 counties, he says they've come up with an idea they believe can work.

"When we get that done we have something that I think always really is of interest to the Legislature because we do some of that work ahead of time that builds that coalition between the interests across the state," says Nelson.

Nelson and Rempe say they know tax changes are give and take, which is why they're also concerned about making up for school funding revenue.

"When we talk about funding in education it's really to look at how we fund all of education in Nebraska, particularly K-12 as it relates to property tax," says Nelson.

"In rural Nebraska you'll find that oftentimes a few farmers and ranchers will be supporting their rural school and so that's when the crux of the issue always comes to when you're talking property tax is looking at school funding," says Rempe.

A Farm Bureau task force will look into the state aid formula and ways to provide a per-student base level of funding. Nelson says big changes are needed there too, and expects study to take more than a year.

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