Key senator hopes to meet with schools on property tax bill

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- A Nebraska senator who is leading the push to lower property taxes said Thursday that she still hopes to reach a deal with opponents who are trying to derail the main proposal before lawmakers.

Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, of Omaha, said she will do whatever she can to find a fair agreement with K-12 public school officials who are lobbying against the measure.

Lawmakers debated the bill briefly on Thursday but passed over it without taking a vote. To bring the bill to a vote, Linehan now has to show that she has support from at least 33 of the Legislature’s 49 state senators. It’s not clear whether she has the votes.

The main opponents are public school administrators, school boards and the teachers’ union.

The bill would boost aid to Nebraska’s K-12 public schools by about $520 million over three years and redistribute it so that smaller, rural schools get a larger increase. In exchange, it would lower property taxes by restricting school districts’ ability to tax and spend and requiring voter approval of certain types of tax increases.