LINCOLN – The Nebraska Farm Bureau is backing Gov. Pete Ricketts’ tax relief plan, but isn’t ruling out going back to a potential ballot measure.
Farm Bureau officials announced their support of Gov. Ricketts’ preferred bill – LB 947 – at an event at the State Capitol on Monday.
Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said while in Norfolk on Tuesday that LB 947 represents the best chance to get meaningful property tax relief done this session.
“We’ve been looking for property tax relief for a number of years now,” Nelson told News Channel Nebraska. “This is the first opportunity we’ve had in several years to do something meaningful. We think this is something senators should support.”
Nelson says if the measure passes in this year’s session, The Farm Bureau will withdraw its support from a campaign to place a property tax measure on the November general-election ballot. But Nelson says the possibility of letting voters decide is still very much in play.
“If the Legislature is unable to act, that’s something that we can turn to,” Nelson said. “Unfortunately, that might be something we end up doing this year.”
Critics of the bill have expressed disappointment at the lack of a funding mechanism for the tax relief the bill would provide. Nelson says he believes the economic impact of the bill would more than pay for the revenue shortage long-term.
“It allows time for growth in the economy,” Nelson said. “When you look at history, we are going to have the growth that will offset the cost of this.”
Nelson says the main takeaway is that property tax relief is sorely needed in rural Nebraska, a sentiment reflected in recent federal statistics which project that net cash farm income will be at its lowest level this year since 2009.