NEBRASKA – The 2020 Nebraska Legislative session is set to begin on January 8th and Governor Pete Ricketts has highlighted some key issues heading into the session. It will be a sixty day session that ends on April 23rd.
Of course, the major issue will be property taxes once again. Ricketts said that although they did make some progress last year with an increase in the property tax relief fund and requiring local entities to have public hearings when increasing property taxes, there’s still more to do. His focus is to lower property taxes without raising taxes elsewhere.
That is not real tax relief, we have to live within our budget when we look at how we can phase in additional property tax relief, and we count on the growth of the budget to be able to deliver that, and that is really the ideas that I am working on with the legislature to really get them to focus on those things, so we get into the session year, we can get something that can get 33 votes that can pass and get to my desk.
A ballot initiative has been floated around to lower property taxes by putting it to a vote of the people in the 2020 election and the Governor says that won’t get the results people want.
Money for schools, and other things we serve would have to be cut. There would be other disruptions of services, so I really urge people caution about that, because it really would create quite a disruption and frankly the way we need to do it is continue to work with the legislature, and I totally understand people’s frustration. I get frustrated as well.
Another hurdle is the current school aid formula where Nebraska has 244 school districts and 160 of them, many of which are rural, don’t receive any money, though the formula because of AG land valuations.
With AG land valuations increasing by about 244 percent over the last ten years, a lot of those districts have lost equalization money from the State.