Governor Pete Ricketts was the lead witness Wednesday advocating for a big increase in the annual payout from the State’s property tax relief fund. A bill introduced by Omaha senator Brett Lindstrom would set the minimum annual payout, to property owners, at $275 Million dollars each year. Currently is about $225 Million. The Governor said it’s a smooth working system in which a line item on the property tax bill shows the credit is coming from the State.
The Governor’s testimony also foreshadowed what could be a major battle for use of the estimated $40 Million the State will begin collecting this year from internet retail purchases by Nebraska residents from out of state companies with no retail presence in Nebraska.
Lincoln Senator Adam Morfeld has been advocating the use of the internet money for medicaid expansion, with no cuts to in current spending. The Governor told the Legislature’s Revenue Committee he wants the money added to the Property Tax Credit Fund, and structured the request so that it would roughly equal collections from online retailers.
Ricketts was also the lead witness advocating for LR8CA, a Constitutional Amendment proposed by Senator Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn. She wants to give voters the opportunity to place a 3% cap on annual property tax increases. Linehan told the Committee that many local Government officials and School administrators are “out of touch” with the actual rate of inflation. “We’ve only had one year since the ’08 recession when the rate of inflation went above 3%.”
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