City Returns The Windfall
I recently appeared before the Lincoln City Council to talk about the upcoming windfall of property taxes. This was my message:
On behalf of the Lincoln Independent Business Association I am here to support the resolution that would return the property tax reevaluation windfall to the taxpayers.
Members of the city council, your two year budget is set.
Your two year budget is done.
Property taxes were increased in order to fund this year’s budget and to fund next year’s budget, so you have all the money you need.
On top of that, you have over $1 million dollars in extra money due to personnel savings. No one expected you would have an extra million, but you do, and now you are trying to decide how to spend it.
In short, you do not need a single dime of the property tax reevaluation windfall.
There should be no debate about what to do with the reevaluation windfall. Return the windfall to the taxpayers.
This windfall is not coming from commercial property, office property, retail or manufacturing. The windfall is coming from homeowners. As a community we need to stand up for families and their ability to afford a home.
Certainly the City Council could find a hundred ways to spend this windfall. But we urge you to return it homeowners.
The recent housing market conditions have played a part in the increased values throughout Lincoln. In January of 2014, there was close to 1,300 single-family residential listings in the Lincoln housing market. That number has dwindled to 743 as of December 2016. The low supply and high demand have caused the median house price in the Lincoln area to reach a new record high of $166,000.
The valuation increase, however, should be a benefit to homeowners, not a windfall to local taxing authorities. We reject any notion that reinvesting the property tax revaluation revenue increase is an example of reinvesting the growth dividend. Such a notion assumes that the cause of the so-called “dividend” was the growth of Lincoln. Certainly, there was an increase in the overall value of property, but this was largely influenced by the high-demand, low-supply residential housing market of the past three years.
I was asked by one council member if LIBA would send the same message to all taxing authorities. The answer is yes. And we encourage you to do the same. Your voice counts and I hope you will take the time and effort to contact your elected official.
Finally, I would like to thank the following members of the City Council who voted for the resolution that would lower the property tax rate: Roy Christensen, Trent Fellers, Cyndi Lamm, Leirion Gaylor Baird, Jon Camp, and Carl Eskridge.
LIBA studies and promotes these types of issues that are important to businesses and our community. If you have an interest in joining LIBA, please call me at (402) 466-3419. LIBA membership is not restricted to just businesses. We also have “individual” memberships for those who want to help influence our local government decisions.
For more information on LIBA, visit Liba.org.