Center joins property tax reform and education coalition

As the Nebraska Legislature continues with its session, there have been many tax reform bills introduced by senators and our governor. At the Center for Rural Affairs, we believe in a more balanced tax system for Nebraska taxpayers. When I think of what makes rural Nebraska thrive, I think back to my hometown. I think about the public school that directed me through my young life and the determined property owners, farmers and small business owners who line the town square.

These hard working Nebraskans deserve a fair and balanced tax system where property taxes would not be heavily relied upon to fund our local public schools. We recently joined a partnership that stands just for that.

Nebraskans United for Property Tax Reform and Education was brought together by Farm Bureau and Schools Taking Action for Nebraska Children’s Education (STANCE) to draw attention to the issues Nebraskans are facing. The primary objective of this coalition is to adequately fund education while developing a more fair and balanced state tax system that reduces the amount of property taxes used to fund K-12 education. This partnership is made up of agricultural groups, schools and teachers.

Nebraskans United for Property Tax Reform and Education has two principles:

Principle #1: Adequate and sustainable funding of high quality K-12 education is imperative for the future of Nebraskans

  • A well-educated workforce is essential for economic development and a high quality of life.

  • Education reduces poverty, boosts economic growth and increases income. In sum, education is one of the most important investments a state can make in its people and its future.
  • Low levels of state funding for education is at the heart of Nebraska’s property tax issues, not school spending.

Principle #2: Tax reform which reduces the over-reliance on local property taxes is necessary to ensure our tax system is fair to all Nebraska taxpayers

  • Nebraska must reduce property taxes to ensure a fair and balanced tax system.
    • Nebraska ranks 49th in the country in the percentage of K-12 funding that comes from the state.
    • Nebraskans pay the seventh highest effective property tax rate in the nation.
  • To fund the state budget, we need a tax system that is fair and balanced for all Nebraska taxpayers. Those taxpayers need a significant reduction in property taxes.
    • Nebraska K-12 schools receive 33 percent of funding from state sources while the national average is 47 percent.
    • Nebraska K-12 schools receive 49 percent of funding from local property taxes while the national average is 29 percent.

The Center for Rural Affairs is committed to getting Nebraskans the relief they deserve from property taxes. We are devoted to our public schools that are the heart and soul of rural Nebraska towns. Joining coalitions such as Nebraskans United for Property Tax Reform and Education provides us tools, motivation and strength in numbers to make a change.

Members of this coalition include: Center for Rural Affairs, Nebraska Council of School Administrators, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska State Education Association, Reform for Nebraska’s Future, Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association, Nebraska Fair, Women Involved in Farm Economics, Nebraska Soybean Association, Gage County Property Tax Group, Nebraska Pork Producers, Nebraska Wheat Growers, Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska, STANCE (Schools Taking Action for Nebraska Children’s Education), Greater Nebraska Schools Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau and Nebraska Farmers Union.

 

Feature photo: Businesses line the town square in Pawnee City, Neb. The Center for Rural Affairs recently joined a coalition to stand up for small business owners, property owners, farmers and public schools on property tax reform and education. | Photo by Rhea Landholm