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A once-in-a-generation opportunity for tax reform and education funding 

LB 1084, Sen. Tom Briese’s combined property tax relief and school funding bill, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Let me explain this bold statement.

In the mid-1960s, two generations ago, the state of Nebraska ended statewide property tax. At about the same time, the state began collecting both sales and income taxes. These were all bold moves for generating income for the state.

Iowans respond to clean energy growth

During the past two decades, Iowa’s wind energy industry has created 8,000 to 9,000 jobs, spurred billions of dollars in investment, and provided Iowa landowners with $20 to $25 million in annual land lease payments. With nearly 7,000 megawatts (MW) of installed wind capacity, the state generates more than 37 percent of its power from wind.

Similarly, the Iowa solar industry has begun to follow an impressive growth curve. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates Iowa will install approximately 225 MW of solar during the next five years.

A property tax lesson from Arthur County

Property taxes have more than doubled in the past decade. The price of cattle has not. This has created significant challenges for those of us in production agriculture.

When this trend first began, I was quick to blame our local administrators and school board for the burden placed on property tax payers. I believed the only way to control the rise in property taxes was for schools to mitigate spending at the local level.

Nebraska's economy has evolved – our tax code has not

While Nebraska’s economy remains reliant upon agriculture, the broader economy, following national trends, has moved away from a dependence on manufacturing and goods to knowledge and service. Nebraska’s tax code does not reflect that decades long trend.

The prior economic mix meant the state did not need to tax seldom-used service. Despite this shift, sales tax exemptions for services, such as dry cleaning and landscaping, remain in the state’s tax code. This array of exemptions has imbalanced the three legged tax stool, leaving it leaning heavily upon property taxes.

Corporate Farming Notes: Crop insurance premium subsidy caps will bring fairness back to farming

Unlimited crop insurance premium subsidies are a loophole that allow the largest farmers to reap the greatest benefits from government subsidy. That is why we support capping crop insurance premium subsidies at $50,000. We believe that crop insurance should be a safety net, not a government subsidy to finance unlimited expansion.

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