A Simple Solution to Property Taxes
Once again this year the debate on how to lower property taxes is at the top of every state senator’s mind. Today, I offer the simple solution, and it’s a bill that just sitting and waiting to be voted out of committee.
The Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA) supports LB576. Last year, it was introduced by Senator Brewer and subsequently amended by AM399. The bill as amended freezes assessed property values unless there have been improvements to the property. The freeze remains in effect for four years. If improvements like a new hotel or new housing development are added, then the value would go up and local cities and schools will collect more money.
LB576 is a short-term solution to protect against property tax increases. It does not force schools or cities to make cuts. It simply protects taxpayers from increases in their property taxes. During the freeze, the Legislature can fully weigh its options and make the best choice on property taxes for Nebraskans. Meanwhile, if LB576 passes, schools, cities, and other taxing authorities will receive MORE money due to new developments being assessed at higher rates. Everyone wins!
The Tax Foundation has ranked Nebraska property tax rates on owner-occupied housing as seventh highest in the nation. Asking taxing authorities to accept stable revenue from property taxes and prioritize for the next four years is reasonable. In Lincoln, respondents to a 2017 resident satisfaction survey from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Policy Center and the City of Lincoln said that the biggest decrease in resident satisfaction was in affordable quality housing. To help keep the momentum of growth in Lincoln and throughout Nebraska, we must “put our foot on the break” regarding property taxes.
While LB576 is simple enough to understand, the property tax situation in Nebraska is not. There may be no silver bullet to the excessive property tax burden on Nebraskans, but LIBA believes that a good, permanent solution or master plan can be developed. LB576 is the short-term measure for protecting against property tax increases. In the interim years before LB576 expires, the Legislature can fully weigh its options and make the best choice on property taxes for Nebraskans.
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.