A very important bill was introduced last week which deals with property tax relief. LB 974 was introduced by Senator Linnehan, who is chair of the Legislature’s Revenue Committee. Sen. Linnehan worked on this bill all year long in conjunction with the Governor.

LB 974 is a very complicated bill that is hard to explain in a brief article such as this. So, I will attempt to give you the Cliff Notes version of what this bill would do, or should I say, not do, for you, the taxpayer.

The bill is intended to reduce property taxes by 140 million dollars this year and then the following year it would reduce property taxes again by another 140 million dollars. Hopefully, after three years property tax relief would exceed 500 million dollars.

LB 974 is intended to take projected increases in revenue that the state receives every year and apply those revenues to property tax relief. However, bear in mind that last year property taxes across our State increased by an extra 200 million dollars. So if we give you back 140 million dollars but property taxes increase by 200 million dollars, how is that property tax relief?

That is a very peculiar way of giving property tax relief! So, if your property taxes increase by a certain amount, but we give a fraction of that amount back to you, how is that property tax relief?

The only way to reduce taxes overall is to cut spending. We have a Legislature which does not do a very good job of cutting spending. Let me say it another way: We don’t do it at all!

I appreciate the fact that the Revenue Committee worked hard all summer and fall to put together something that they think would help solve the property tax dilemma. But, as you can see by my comments, giving back a fraction of the tax dollars that the State has already taken from you in the form of a rebate is a very peculiar way of doing property tax relief.

LB 974 gets even worse. It appears that if the revenues did not increase for any given year, property owners would not get any property tax relief at all for that year.

So what is the solution? The solution as I see it is that we need to begin to do things differently than how we’ve done them in the past. We continue to think inside the box. We continue to think that we have to make all of our reductions fit in the inside of what we currently do. And when you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results; well, that is the very definition of insanity.

So if you haven’t signed the petition for the 35% Solution, please do so soon. Signing the petition is our only hope for true and meaningful property tax relief. The ballot initiative is the only way the people can force the Legislature to make good decisions about cutting spending and actually lowering your taxes. Thank you for reading.

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