Statement: Nebraska Legislature Fails Again to Provide Needed Property Tax Reform

Today the Nebraska Legislature failed to generate the needed 33 votes to pass cloture on the final bill that would provide needed property tax reform this year. LB461, introduced by Senator Jim Smith and supported by Governor Pete Ricketts only generated 27 votes of the 33 needed to pass cloture.

Below is a statement by Mark Fahleson, Chairman of Reform for Nebraska’s Future following today’s vote on LB461:

“Simply put, LB461 failed once again because the politicians refused to listen.  It is no secret that property tax reform is Nebraskans’ top priority. After months of back and forth, Nebraskans will just have to weather more increases to their property tax bills. Even though public opinion polls have consistently shown that property tax relief was overwhelmingly favored by their constituents compared to the special interest’s cries for income tax cuts, the politicians chose to side with the special interests. They refused to listen to Nebraskans and instead provided nothing but a bad bill that failed because it possessed misplaced priorities.

“Relying on the Legislature to deliver necessary property tax reform for Nebraskans has proven unsuccessful so it is time to find an alternative path. It’s time we take this issue directly to the Nebraska people through a ballot measure. If the politicians continually refuse to listen to the Nebraska people and refuse to produce meaningful property tax reform, the people of Nebraska deserve the opportunity to have their say. The politicians have had ample opportunity and the only way to produce the reform needed appears to be to force their hand.”

LB461 was introduced by Senator Jim Smith to predominately provide income tax relief, which was found to benefit the wealthiest of Nebraskans. Property tax relief was included as well, but provided such small cuts that many concerned about property taxes, like groups representing agricultural interests, opposed the bill. LB461 provided $10 of income tax cuts for every $1 of property tax relief, which runs counter to public opinion data showing that property tax relief is overwhelmingly favored by Nebraskans.