Legislative Testimony for LB930: Require a minimum amount of tax relief under the Property Tax Credit Act

Good afternoon Chair Linehan and members of the Revenue Committee.  I’m Nicole Fox, and I’m here today to testify in opposition to LB930.

The Platte Institute certainly appreciates the intent of this legislation, which is to codify the state’s commitment to how much it pays in place of local property taxes. We agree that the state is capable of taking a much larger role in reducing property taxes and that the state should certainly not be moving in the opposite direction.

However, we oppose the property tax credit relief fund, because it has proven to be an ineffective vehicle for reducing property taxes. Our position is that the fund should be replaced with a more complete property tax reform plan that permanently reduces local property taxing authority.

Though the credit may be well-intended and is considered a guaranteed source of relief for agriculture, the Legislature has spent more than $2 billion since the fund was created in 2007. In return, property taxes have increased by nearly $2 billion a year. Total property taxes in 2007 were about $2.5 billion. Today, they’re nearly $4.4 billion.

If we stay on this track for another ten years, we’re going to spend nearly another $3 billion sending money to local political subdivisions and still have higher property taxes than we did the years before.

Encouraging the Legislature to make the property tax credit a permanent fixture means senators can continue to delay and filibsuter property tax reform, throw insignificant increments of money at the fund when they feel they need to, and then call it a job well done even though it solves nothing.

Meanwhile, property taxes in Nebraska will still rise at an unsustainable rate.
 
Thank you and I would be happy to take any questions from the committee.

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