State leaders, local farmers at odds in property tax relief

Posted By: Nicole Cousins

Some farmers say they’re fed up with property taxes. A group rallied at the Capitol Wednesday, saying ‘Enough is enough’ — Nebraska must stop relying on property tax as a main source of funding. 

The rally prefaced a hearing on LB 338, the Agricultural Valuation Fairness Act that would change how property taxes are assessed. Land would instead be valued on income it produces, not on its sale price. 

State officials estimate it will reduce property taxes for farmers by 2 percent this year. 

Some farmers say they support the shift in how income tax is assessed, but its not enough of a change.

One family told Channel 8 they’ve owned their farm for five generations. Last year, a plot of their land cost more in property taxes than it made in income. The homesteader says he’s beginning to pass off the farm to his grandson, but he’s worried the way they’ve made their living will be too much of a burden to bear. 

Governor Ricketts said Wednesday, he’s open to amendments to the bill. 

LB 378 still has to be approved by the committee before advancing to the floor for debate.