Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and key state lawmakers announced a plan on Tuesday to curb rising property taxes and help control spending, calling it a "structural change" to how local governments tax Nebraska landowners. The two measures introduced in the Legislature would tighten limits on budget growth and levy increases for all local governments, and slow the rise in government-assessed cropland values across the state, the governor said Tuesday at a Capitol news conference. The bills will be sponsored by Sens. Mike Gloor of Grand Island and Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids, both of which co-chaired a joint committee last year that looked for ways to reduce Nebraska's reliance on property taxes to pay for K-12 public schools.
A newly formed group of farmers and ranchers, tentatively called Nebraskans for Tax Reform, are seeking signatures on a petition that will ask the governor to call a special legislative session, as early as this year, to address high property taxes on ag land. Unhappy with the state's lack of progress in reducing the sharply higher property taxes on farmland and ranch land, the group was organized by Rod Holl man, a Martell-area farmer and president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau chapter in Lancaster County. In addition to a meeting with Gov. Pete Ricketts to express their concerns, the group is also seeking signatures on a second letter, asking state legislators to make property tax relief their top priority.
It's well-known that millennials are flocking to urban cores across the country, causing developers to rush downtown in order to meet the growing demand. Midwest cities are gaining just as much attention, and brokers say it's not just young people that are moving downtown. Consumers of all ages want to live where they can walk to public transportation, grocery stores, shops and restaurants, and the Midwest has plenty of thriving cities to meet those needs. Downtown Chicago, of course, is thriving. But Cleveland, Omaha, Nashville, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Kansas City are all booming, and there’s even a resurgence happening in downtown Detroit. However, one Midwest downtown seems to be leading them all: Louisville.
When the Revenue Committee voted on the proposal to reduce the taxable value of agricultural land from 75 to 65 percent of market value on Wednesday, only two of eight members voted for it. The committee did, however, endorse a proposal to lower personal property taxes – that could include everything from farmers’ tractors to business computers. The proposal is a personal property tax credit geared more toward small businesses and the production of ag land – not the owners of ag land. In other words, the break would go to someone who owns a tractor or combine, not someone who owns a section of land. It would also go to businesses that own personal property, like machinery.
Property tax relief is Nebraska Farm Bureau’s top priority for the 2015 session of the Nebraska Legislature, due to concerns that ag land owners pay more than their fair share of property taxes. This week a panel of lawmakers were told that property taxes paid by Nebraska farmers and ranchers are two to three times higher than those paid by their counterparts in Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas, and the wide disparity calls for action by the State Legislature.
Lincoln, Nebraska lawmakers released "options" to update the state's tax code for the public to review before hearings are held throughout the state. The Tax Modernization Committee is working to make the Nebraska tax code more fair, balanced and stable and will be holding public hearings in September and October. The committee is to provide a recommendations report by mid-December for Legislature to review in January.
In 2012, only 8% of property taxes levied in York County, Nebraska were absorbed by new construction, with the remainder being passed on to property owners. According to York News Times, the trend of higher property taxes is escalating at an alarming rate, as the average increase over the last three years has been 9.3%, with the most recent years being closer to 12%.