LINCOLN – State Sen. Dan Watermeier calls property tax reduction a critical need in his latest legislative radio address and questions moves to lower income taxes at a time the state faces a shortfall of nearly $1 billion.
He said farm earnings have declined 18 percent since 2013, while taxes in a 10-state region have increased 11 percent. During this time, Watermeier said, Nebraska had a 7.3 percent increase in school funding – the highest among the 10 states.
Watermeier: “This illustrates the critical need to decrease property taxes, yet some senators in the Legislature and the governor are still focusing on income tax relief, as well as property tax relief. The only way I could support any income tax relief is if we offered $10 of property tax relief for every $1 of income tax relief. “
He said the legislature’s Appropriations Committee is making budget cuts, but the prospects for any tax relief are in doubt because of the budget shortfall.
Watermeier: “The appropriations committee is in the process of cutting spending significantly, something that must also be done on the local level. These cuts are difficult to make, but the alternative is an increase in taxes.”
The committee will make its final recommendations on April 24.
Watermeier was also appointed chairman of a seven-member legislative committee asked to determine if Sen. Ernie Chambers qualifies to represent his legislative district. His challenger in the last election claims that Chambers does not live in the district.
The committee hired former Supreme Court Justice William Connolly and scheduled an April 7 hearing date at the state Capitol.
The “Choose Life” license plate bill, which Watermeier introduced, was given second-round approval and is ready for final reading.