Anyone who has followed the 2017 Nebraska Legislative Session knows that much debate centered on property tax reform for all Nebraska home, business, and property owners versus income tax cuts for the wealthiest Nebraskans. Because Nebraskans pay the seventh highest property taxes in the country, nearly two in three Nebraskans supported property tax reform and today, Reform for Nebraska’s Future thanked eight Senators for being a Friend of the Nebraskan Tax Payer for their efforts to create property tax reform.
High and increasing property taxes are nothing new in Nebraska, but without reform, property tax bills will only increase year after year. Nebraskans have seen a 60 percent increase in property taxes over the past decade and earlier this year, some residents in Omaha were seeing nearly 800 percent increases in their property taxes this year compared to last. Such outrageous increases should be all that was needed to persuade legislators to support reform.
Instead, legislation pushed by the big-moneyed special interests received debate. LB461 would have provided $10 of income tax cuts for every $1 of property tax relief. For their role in trying to bring sense to the debate surrounding LB 461, Reform for Nebraska’s Future would like to issue the award of Friend of the Nebraska Taxpayer to the following Senators:
- Senator Tom Brewer (SD-43)
- Senator Tom Briese (SD-41)
- Senator Steve Erdman (SD-47)
- Senator Curt Friesen (SD-34)
- Senator Mike Groene (SD-42)
- Senator Dan Hughes (SD-44)
- Senator Bob Krist (SD-10)
- Senator Dan Watermeier (SD-1)
77 percent of Nebraskans support property tax reform and 62 percent identified property tax reform as their top priority during this past legislative session. These eight Senators stood firmly by their commitments to their constituents, defied the special interests, and pushed proposals that would create increased property tax relief until the very end.
Nearly every politician in Nebraska has promised to fight for property tax reform, but as has been stated time and time again, once they enter the Capitol, they develop “property tax amnesia.” The issue continues to elude us because what was once a priority is no longer for some.
Because of this, it is important now more than ever to thank these eight Senators who stood by their word and continued to fight for Nebraskans. We just hope that others will stand by their commitments in future legislative sessions.