Military service bill, LB753, flew from Select file to the Governor’s desk. He should sign it this week.
Monday is Day 38 in the 60-day session. Every single, solitary, dadgum new bill received a perfunctory public hearing. Senators, committees and the Speaker prioritized 107 of their favorites, and mercifully, we now move on to full-day floor debate.
The #1 issue entering this session was property tax relief (PTR). PTR was the #1 issue last year, and PTR was the #1 issue the year before that, and…….OK, you get it. In this decade, the Legislature completed numerous PTR studies, PTR traveling road shows and received more expert PTR analysis than was heard during the Benghazi hearings. Yet, year-after-year, land owners watch their taxes climb way beyond fair and equitable.
In all honesty, PTR is an absolute monster of a problem. And, there have been valiant attempts to provide PTR. Like last year when the Governor and the Legislature tossed another $104M annually into the PTR Credit Fund. Kudos for the effort! Yes, $104M is a significant number, but it is not significant PTR.
This year, two PTR bills were introduced on Governor Rickett’s behalf (LB958 and LB959). Both again would slow the growth of property taxes. Neither will advance from committee as written.
So here we are; bottom of the sixth, two out (22 days left), and another slow-the-growth approach is formulating in the Revenue Committee. One that simply shifts sales and income taxes to keep property taxes from rapidly increasing – as opposed to rapidly decreasing.
As we sing and dance our way through the final third of this session, passing more than 100 brilliant new ideas into law, perhaps one of them will at least soften the blow on those who desperately need PTR.