Press Release: Reform for Nebraska’s Future Releases Updated Legislative Report Card

Lincoln, Neb. – As the Nebraska Legislature begins general debate on a number of proposals, Reform for Nebraska’s Future (RNF) is specifically watching two proposals closely, both of which fall far short of providing the comprehensive property tax reform many politicians have promised.

“These proposals miss the mark to make Nebraska’s tax system more equitable and should be rejected by Nebraska’s senators,” said Mark Fahleson, Chairman of RNF. “With property taxes accounting for nearly 50 percent of all state and local revenues, these proposals currently do nothing to make Nebraska’s tax system more balanced and equitable, which would reduce the burden on home and property taxpayers. You don’t reduce property taxes by raiding the Property Tax Credit Fund or through income tax cuts.”

In anticipation of deliberation on both LB461, introduced by Senator Jim Smith, and LB640, introduced by Senator Mike Groene, this week RNF released an updated Legislative Report Card to highlight our opposition to both proposals as they are currently drafted. RNF has previously identified a number of proposals that were introduced, which could be steps in the right direction towards creating property tax reform that is revenue neutral and balanced.

“The debate comes down to priorities and the question is will senators choose to deliver for their constituents or the special interests,” added Fahleson. “Nebraskans overwhelmingly want property tax reform passed during the current legislative session and RNF encourages senators to deliver for their constituents.”

According to the Report Card:

 

  • LB461 does not meet RNF’s principles for property tax reform because it does not provide property tax reform that balances the state’s three major revenue sources. Instead, it provides little to no relief to agricultural property owners and provides zero relief to Nebraska’s homeowners, whose property taxes increased by 36 percent over the past decade. Additionally, this proposal provides income tax cuts that only benefit the wealthiest of Nebraskans, while creating an even more imbalance to Nebraska’s three legged tax policy stool because for every $1 of property tax relief, this proposal provides $10 of income tax relief.
  • LB640 does not meet RNF’s principles for property tax reform because, as currently written, this legislation falls short of providing a balance to the current tax system. In order to provide balance, property taxes must be relied on for less than 55 percent of all revenue.

 

RNF has identified the following three principles to determine what meaningful property tax reform entails:
  1. Nebraska’s source of tax revenues should be balanced, generating equitable revenue from taxes on sales, income, and property.
  2. Tax reform in Nebraska should be revenue neutral.
  3. Property tax reform is necessary to provide a stable funding source for Nebraska’s future.