Weekly Column

Unlikely partners work toward common sense tax solution

When Gov. Ricketts’ tax cut plans emerged at the beginning of the Nebraska legislative session, they appeared to set the stage for a classic rural-urban debate. The rural voice would coalesce around the need for agricultural land property tax relief while the more urban groups would call for their own form of property tax relief and the touted income tax cut.

Yet as the combined income and property tax cut bill known as LB 461 emerged from committee and to the floor for debate, there was a uniquely unified voice among constituent groups.

Exploring growing taxes on Nebraska farms

How does Nebraska’s tax burden balance out?

A recent report from the Center for Rural Affairs explores the tax burden in 13 Nebraska counties. Using data from the Nebraska Department of Revenue, the Center compared income, property, and agricultural property tax trends over a 10-year period. While income tax revenue remained steady, there was a dynamic and growing shift of Nebraska’s tax burden onto agricultural property taxpayers.

The president, rural voters and our future

In last fall’s election, enough rural voters switched party allegiance to account for Trump’s victory in several key Midwest and Rust Belt states.

Frustration over the economic plight facing their communities drove many of these voters.

Modern day Great Plains was built by settlers seeking economic and political independence. The region is built on widespread opportunity and the notion that hard work and dedication are all you need to get ahead.

South Dakota can lead in renewable energy

The Great Plains has a bright future in renewable energy, especially in rural areas where there is abundant space and resources are plentiful.

South Dakota ranks fifth in the U.S. for wind energy potential, capable of producing enough energy from wind to meet the state’s energy needs 300 times over. While South Dakota currently produces more than 26 percent of its energy from wind, there is still room for growth in the state.

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