Good News: Because the Legislature is not in session, State senators are not passing new laws to spend more of your money and to raise your taxes! We don’t have a revenue shortfall because we don’t tax you enough; we have a revenue shortfall because the State spends too much. Because most of the State senators do not hold to a fiscally conservative philosophy, our state budget has grown from $2.5 billion to almost $5 billion over the course of the last 17 years. However, there remains a small nucleus of State senators who oppose these kinds of reckless spending habits.
It is time for the folks who pay the taxes to direct the folks who spend the taxes by declaring: “Enough is enough!”
The last time the voters said “No more” to property taxes was back in 1966. Those of you who were around in 1966 may remember what happened. The people spoke up through a petition drive, put a measure on the ballot, and voted at the polls. Before that 1966 vote of the people, the State collected property taxes to fund the entire state. But, on that glorious day at the polls the voters said, “No more State property taxes” with a constitutional amendment.
Back in those days some of the same comments were made about the petition drive that are being made today about the current petition drive. Of course, I am referring to the petition drive for the 35 percent solution. In 1966 the skeptics asked, “How are we going to pay for it?” and, “Where will our funding come from?” and, “What will they have to cut?” These are the same stale arguments that were used back in 1966 to oppose that petition drive, and they are the same stale arguments which threaten to keep our State on the wrong side of history today.
Instead of regurgitating these old, stale, and failed arguments, I have a much better question for these skeptics to answer: “How do you expect Nebraskans to keep paying these outrageous property taxes?” You see, we never ask what ordinary folks have to cut from their budgets in order to pay their taxes. Furthermore, the question should not be, “How are we going to pay for the 35 percent solution?” but “What should we cut from the State budget so that property owners can actually pay their taxes?”
The time has come for us to be concerned about those paying the taxes, instead of focusing our attention on the folks who spend the money. No government has ever given anything to anybody that they didn’t first take from someone else. So here we are 53 years later facing a similar crisis. It is now time for you to exercise your authority to reclaim 35 percent of your property tax bill and force the Legislature to cut spending.
There has been a lot of talk over the years about property tax relief, but that is all that it has ever been: Cheap talk, and no action. We had several bills that came to the floor of the Legislature this year dealing with property tax relief. One of those bills was LB 289, which would have given Nebraska property owners a $500-$600 million break on their property taxes. However, LB 289 would have also raised sales taxes to pay for it. More importantly, LB 289
would have provided property owners with only one-third of the property tax relief they need. So, that bill did not amount to adequate property tax relief.
Nebraska is the fifth highest state in the nation for property taxes, and we are higher than both New York and California! So, if the State Legislature is going pass a bill for property tax relief, it needs to include meaningful and significant property tax relief in the amount of $1.3 billion; otherwise, the taxpayers will only continue to suffer under the burden of high property taxes.
This is why it is vital for you check out the website www.truenebraskans.com and find out how to get involved. It is up to the voters to carry this petition drive to the finish line. If we do not get meaningful and significant property tax relief next year, we will never get it. This is our last chance! If you still think the Legislature will solve this problem, you are sorely mistaken. We have been trying that option for the past 40 years. How has that worked out for you?