NEBRASKA PETITION DRIVE SEEKING $1.1 BILLION WORTH OF PROPERTY TAX RELIEF IS EXPECTED TO KICK OFF NEXT WEEK

Trent Fellers, the executive director of Reform for Nebraska’s Future, has confirmed that he has filed for an initiative petition drive with the Secretary of State’s Office. The petition, if it receives enough signatures, would put a measure on the ballot that would require the state to provide Nebraskan’s with an income tax credit equal to 50 percent of their property tax. The total would equate to roughly $1.1 billion statewide. Taylor Gage, a spokesman for Governor Ricketts, said “To pay for this proposal, the proponents would have to pass massive tax increases, cut virtually all state aid to K-12 education or have other unacceptable impacts on priorities Nebraskans care about.” He stressed that the Governor supports property tax relief but not the increase in state spending that comes with this proposal. Senator Steve Erdman has said that he will be introducing legislation that matches the petition so the legislature can act first, if they choose. Many take issue with the measure because it doesn’t specify where the $1.1 billion will come from. The state’s general fund holds $4 billion, of which $1 billion is dedicated to school aid. Opponents have said it’s unrealistic to expect state lawmakers to be able make $1.1 billion in cuts without harming education, human services, and public safety.