The Iron Chancellor

Dead guy, Otto von Bismarck said, “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.” Quaint. We can all agree that Otto was not a handsome man, but he was blessed with a truly enormous set of eyebrows.

And what does Otto have to do with the legislative process in the Unicameral? Perhaps, he embodies “those senators” who seek recognition, affirmation, a camera or headline. Anyone come to mind?

Fortunately, the Nebraska Legislature is packed with standup citizen representatives. Ideologically, they may have differences, but their eyebrows are in the right place.

Segue to property taxes. Own a home? WalletHub says we have the 45th highest residential property tax in the country. Ag land property taxes? Otto says, “Wir sind die Nummer Eins!” Property tax relief was the TOP issue on the campaign trail. Yet, business groups continue to push for lower income taxes and business incentives, while funding for education continues to increase.

Examples of agricultural land property tax increases from 2007 to 2017: Washington County +267%; Cass +244%; Saunders +243% and Lancaster +254%. Property tax increases on residential property are high, but not even in Otto’s Empire as Ag land: Sarpy +46%; Madison +35%; Buffalo +55%; Dawes +41% and Lancaster +34%. Can you blame farmers and homeowners for feeling oppressed? Oppressed may have just crossed the Ottoman Line.

Three bills (LB314, LB497 and LB677) are genuine attempts to reduce the burden on property owners. They will be introduced in the Revenue Committee on Valentine’s Day. The introducers are not about making headlines, or Medisterpølser. Refreshingly, they simply want fair tax policy.

NH&LA Watchlist

LB57 Senator Morfeld’s short-term rental bill is quickly moving through the process. It came before the Urban Affairs Committee on January 29. The Committee advanced the bill to General File, where it had floor debate on January 30, and easily advanced to Select File. The bill is scheduled for Select File debate on Monday.

LB203 amends the Music Licensing Act to add the owner of a multi-family dwelling to the definition of “proprietor.” The Urban Affairs committee hearing was last Monday, and the bill unanimously moved to General File yesterday.

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