News Release: August 20 Property Tax Town Hall in Norfolk

NEWS RELEASE from the Platte Institute

Download file Norfolk Town Hall Flyer

August 13, 2019

Contact: Adam Weinberg
(402) 452-3737
aweinberg@platteinstitute.org

Platte Institute to Host Norfolk Property Tax Town Hall
State Senators to Take Questions on Reform Plans

NORFOLK, NE—The Platte Institute will visit Norfolk on Tuesday, August 20 to host a town hall program on property tax reform featuring Nebraska state senators.

State Sens. Jim Scheer, Lou Ann Linehan, Tom Briese, and Ben Hansen will serve as panelists at the event. The senators will speak on their efforts for property tax reform in the Nebraska Legislature and take questions from those in attendance.   

The town hall will be held at the Northeast Community College Lifelong Learning Center (701 E Benjamin Ave. Norfolk, NE 68701) on Tuesday, August 20 at 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time. A recording of the event will be available later on the Platte Institute website.

An event flyer is attached. The town hall is generously sponsored by Elkhorn Valley Bank & Trust.

The town hall follows a legislative session in which property tax reforms made their way through the committee process, but stumbled on the floor of the Unicameral.

Sen. Scheer serves as the Speaker of the Legislature. He attempted to bring together senators who differed on whether property tax reforms or a renewed tax incentive program was a higher legislative priority. Ultimately, neither measure passed. Sens. Linehan and Briese serve on the Nebraska Legislature’s Revenue Committee, which has jurisdiction over most legislation impacting local property taxes. The two senators supported a proposal to trade new state revenues for public schools in exchange for additional limits on local property taxes. The plan was ultimately filibustered.

When state senators reconvene in 2020, they will be able to continue debating proposals that were introduced in the previous year, including the Revenue Committee’s approved property tax reform bills. However, activists are now gathering petition signatures for a possible 2020 constitutional amendment ballot initiative that would rebate 35% of the real property taxes Nebraskans pay, an enormous increase from the state’s current spending on property tax relief programs.

“The Legislature may only get one more chance to pass major property tax reform before the issue goes before voters,” said Jim Vokal, Chief Executive Officer of the Platte Institute.

“It’s important for senators to hear from constituents who they might not engage with during the usual legislative hearings in Lincoln and for those Nebraskans to learn more about the policies their senators are working on from day to day,” said Vokal.

Revenue Committee member Sen. Tom Briese represents a portion of Northeast Nebraska in his legislative district. A January 2019 Platte Institute poll of 621 likely voters in Legislative District 41 found that 63% favored a new state law to place greater limits on local property tax rates or valuations. By partisan affiliation, that result included 65% of Republicans, 56% of Democrats, and 65% of independents. Only 14% of area voters polled said they opposed additional property tax limitations, while 24% were unsure.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the Property Tax Reform Town Hall. To schedule an interview on this subject, please contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 452-3737 or email aweinberg@platteinstitute.org.

The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. For more media resources, please visit PlatteInstitute.org/Media.   

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