Senator Steve Erdman of Bayard says he is surprised the Nebraska Farm Bureau will drop its support of a campaign to place a property tax measure on the November ballot if lawmakers pass the Governor’s tax package.
Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson made the statement today as he supported the governor’s bill, which offers a 2% refundable tax credit for the property taxes farmers will pay in 2018.
Erdman called the about face “peculiar” and said the Governor’s package will not provide the immediate, substantial property tax relief many farm and ranch owners have demanded.
Erdman said, “I guess when I started this, I never dreamt I would have to fight with those I was fighting for. L.B. 947 is an illusion. It does absolutely nothing. ”
Erdman said valuations across the state in 2017 went up an average of 3.34% statewide assuming no increase in mill levies. Erdman says even with the 2% refund, rural property owners will still be 1% or more in the hole.
Erdman indicated there wasn’t much he could say when Nelson told him about the Farm Bureau’s change of heart. But he believes when Farm Bureau members see what is involved with L.B. 947, they will stick with the petition drive.
The ballot initiative if passed would provide a tax credit equal to 50% of the taxes paid to school districts. Erdman has suggested the credits could be paid for by eliminating sales tax exemptions and through budget cuts. Ricketts has said the ballot measure would cause major disruptions in state government, requiring large cuts or massive tax increases and spend money the state doesn’t have.