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FEBRUARY 24, 2017 ? VOL. 35 ? ISSUE 1
Road to Property Tax Reform
Destination: $600 Million Reduction in Property Tax Collections Statewide
Nebraska Farm Bureau has always been about finding solutions to problems; no problem has loomed larger, at the state level, over the last several years than skyrocketing property tax bills on Nebraska?s farms and ranches. With total property taxes levied on agriculture land climbing by 163 percent statewide over the last decade (a 10 percent annual increase), Nebraska Farm Bureau is putting on a full-court press to fix the problem with meaningful actions this legislative session. ?Nebraskans now pay the seventh highest property tax rate in the nation. We?ve reached a new watermark. Concerns about property taxes aren?t just coming from agriculture. They are coming from homeowners. They are coming from business owners. We aren?t alone in wanting to see major policy changes that fix this problem in a meaningful way,? said Bruce Rieker, Nebraska Farm Bureau?s vicepresident of governmental relations, Feb. 15. REVENUE NEUTRAL SOLUTIONS Fixing these problems requires identifying solutions. Nebraska Farm Bureau has made it clear that the solution to property taxes starts with addressing the structural imbalance in Nebraska?s tax system. This has led to property taxes accounting for roughly half (48 percent) of the total combined collection of Nebraska?s three main revenue sources of property taxes, state sales taxes (19 percent), and state income taxes (33 percent) used to fund government services, including education. ?While it would take more than a billion dollars to equally balance the tax burden into thirds among the three revenue sources, we are pushing for revenue neutral solutions to generate $600 million this session. Dedicating $600 million to lowering property taxes would reduce property taxes? share of the total tax burden from 48 percent to 40 percent,? said Rieker. ?That?s a better balance. That would be meaningful to our members.? According to Rieker, ?revenue neutral? solutions involve either expanding the state sales tax base or increasing the rate and, in turn, using those new revenues to provide dollar-for-dollar reductions in property taxes. BALANCING ACT ?This effort is about better balancing the tax burden among the three revenue sources, not increasing the aggregate tax burden on Nebraskans as some detractors would try and have people believe,? said Rieker. Several bills that would generate the $600 million needed to offset property tax reductions have been introduced this session. Nebraska Farm Bureau has highlighted those as part of its ?Road to Property Tax Reform? campaign. The effort was unveiled as part of a rally held at the Nebraska State Capitol Feb. 8 in which Farm Bureau joined several other entities in Continued on Page 13 Nebraska Farm Bureau earned its first President?s and New Horizon Award. The President?s Award is presented for meeting membership quota and demonstrated superiority in the Awards of Excellence categories. The New Horizon Award focuses on the state Farm Bureau with the most innovative new programs. Nebraska Farm Bureau was honored for its development of The Crew, a program designed to engage Farm Bureau student members through social media. Pictured are Steve Nelson, NFBF president (left) and Zippy Duvall, AFBF president.
President Trump, Agriculture
& NAFTA AFBF Convention
Friends of Farm Bureau
Congratulations to the Levrack team, Peter Miller (left) and Ryan and Austin Stauffer of Seward, for winning the People?s Choice Award in Farm Bureau?s Entrepreneur of the Year competition at the AFBF Farm Bureau Convention in Phoenix. Levrack was one of two Nebraska entrepreneurial teams who were part of the final four to compete for Farm Bureau?s Entrepreneur of the Year. The teams each received $15,000 in October for advancing in the competition. For winning the People's Choice, Levrack won an additional $10,000 in prize money. They garnered 73 percent of the vote when members of the live audience and members of the general public voted online to select the People?s Choice winner at the finals competition. Levrack produces efficient storage systems for farm shops. Windcall Manufacturing, led by Martin Bremmer of Venango, was the other Nebraska Finalist.
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