Property tax relief vs. business incentives

Issues go unresolved this session; Hughes grades session a B+

    Two major issues remain unresolved following the early dismissal of this year’s Nebraska Legislature May 31.
    Rural senators fought a losing battle on several bills seeking significant property tax relief down the stretch of the session.
    On the other side, urban and metro senators wanted to pass a new business incentive package to replace the current one that expires at the end of the year.
    Speaker Jim Scheer told his legislative colleagues both bills should move forward—one shouldn’t move without the other.
    However, it was apparent LB183, which sought an additional $100 million in direct property tax relief, was never going to get the necessary 33 votes to move the bill forward.
    That bill was amended numerous times and would have generated revenue for tax relief by removing a number of sales tax exemptions. That proved to be a bitter pill all session.
    Once the property tax relief bill stalled, rural legislators, including 44th District Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango, stood their ground by opposing the new business incentive package in LB720.
    Passing that legislation was the primary goal of the Nebraska and metro Chambers of Commerce.
    Hughes said his rural colleagues were joined by others who stood up against the state chambers to stop LB720 from moving forward as well. Only 28 voted to advance the bill while 19 opposed it.
    “We in the west and in rural Nebraska see property tax as a real problem,” he said.

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