NORTH PLATTE — The Platte Institute will visit North Platte on Thursday, July 25, to host a town hall program on property tax reform featuring Nebraska state senators.
State Sens. Mike Groene, Lou Ann Linehan and John Lowe will serve as panelists at the event. The senators will speak on their efforts for property tax reform in the 2019 Nebraska Legislature and take questions from those in attendance.
The town hall will be at the Prairie Arts Center (416 N. Jeffers St., North Platte) on Thursday, July 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Central Time. The event will also be live-streamed on the Platte Institute’s Facebook page.
The town hall is generously by Vince Dugan and Gary Trego of Trego-Dugan Aviation.
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.
Groene and Linehan chair the Nebraska Legislature’s Education and Revenue Committees, respectively, which have jurisdiction over most legislation impacting local property taxes. The two senators sought to broker an agreement among their colleagues in the Unicameral for a property tax plan that traded 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 property taxes Nebraskans pay, an enormous increase from the state’s current spending on property tax relief programs.
“We’re excited to visit Lincoln County and hear from the taxpayers about which way they think the state needs to go,” said Jim Vokal, chief executive officer of the Platte Institute.
“When we polled the voters in Sen. Groene’s district earlier this year for our property tax research, they showed the strongest support for limiting property taxes out of any district we surveyed, and that support was strong across party lines,” said Vokal.
A January 2019 Platte Institute poll of 400 likely voters in Lincoln County’s Legislative District 42 found that 70% favored a new state law to place greater limits on local property tax rates or valuations. By partisan affiliation, that result included 69% of Republicans, 68% of Democrats, and 75% of independents. Only 12% of area voters polled said they opposed additional property tax limitations, while 19% were unsure.