The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Doug Kagan
President, Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom 

Reader Opinion

 

January 19, 2018



Editor,

High property taxes in Nebraska are taxing people, especially senior citizens, out of their homes. Farmers and ranchers in the current economy cannot hold onto their land or consider passing landed inheritances from the 1800s to their children. For too long, the Legislature has flirted with ideas for property tax relief but has failed to begin the process of passing substantive property tax reform. Finally, Sen. Steve Erdman has taken the challenge, leading with his 50-50 plan in LB 829, an excellent proposal that has united rural and urban support.

LB 829 is easily explained and understood. Beginning in January, 2019, every Nebraska taxpayer would receive a refundable state individual income tax credit of 50 percent of the public school district taxes levied on property. If the taxpayer does not owe income tax, or if income tax liability is less than the rebate, the taxpayer will receive a refund that one can save or spend. The bill effectively reduces taxes paid by Nebraska property owners by about $1.022 billion, or 30 percent. Our property tax payment national ranking would drop from 5th highest to 25th.

The refundable income tax credit to agriculture property would equal $342 million, the credit to residential property $481 million, and the credit to commercial property $171 million. If including personal property, an additional $46 million extended to personal property owners. It would apply to all parcels of property. The refund would not become subject to Social Security taxation.

To cover the subsequent deficit in the state budget, our taxpayer group has compiled a lengthy list of proposed state budget cuts and advocates eliminating state income and sales tax exemptions, restricting tax increment financing, requiring every state agency and department to implement zero-based budgeting, and requiring ongoing desk audits to decrease the number of state employees.

Doug Kagan, president

Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom

 

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