LINCOLN, Neb. — Rural lawmakers are backing a ballot initiative that would put property tax relief in the voters' hands.
A group calling itself TRUE Nebrakans (Tax Relief Unites Everyone) kicked off their proposal Wednesday afternoon outside the capitol.
Paul Von Behren, president of the organization said, "This is the only effort for property tax relief which will united every Nebraskan because it treats every Nebraskan equally regardless of where they live or what their profession is."
Sen. Tom Briese of Albion has been working on tax relief in the legislature, saying it's vital for the state's farmers and ranchers. He said he's hopeful they can garner 33 votes, but said "it's always good to have multiple options available."
"Much of the property tax crisis is because of our inability to get something accomplished in the Legislature on this issue. The ballot proposal can serve to force action on the part of the legislature, and I am in support of it," he said.
He was joined by Senators Gragert, Murman, Friesen, Bostelman, Clements, Erdman, Brewer, Lowe and Halloran.
The petition is essentially the same one proposed in the legislature by Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard. Under the plan, beginning in 2021 Nebraskans will pay their property taxes as normal and receive a 35% rebate credit on their Nebraska income tax.
The group says Nebraskans are tired of the Nebraska Legislature refusing to provide real property tax relief.
State Senator Erdman said, "Because the Legislature lacks the intestinal fortitude to pass meaningful legislation for substantial property tax relief, we are now appealing to the people as Nebraska’s second House in the form of this petition drive."
The legislature's Revenue Committee has worked out a plan that expands the sales tax, and uses that money to then fund property tax relief. Gov. Pete Ricketts has called it the biggest tax increase in Nebraska history.