Slama Says Spending Cap Key To Sustained Property Tax Relief

NEBRASKA CITY – State Sen. Julie Slama offered her support for a constitutional amendment that would limit local government’s authority to increase property taxes at a town hall forum in Nebraska City on Monday.

LR8CA, which had a hearing Feb. 27 before the Legislature’s Revenue Committee, would cap property tax increases at 3 percent a year.

Slama: “I think if we had had that bill or constitutional amendment implemented 20 years ago, we wouldn’t be sitting here questioning why property taxes have skyrocketed, in a lot of places over 200 percent.”

Slama said Nebraska has attempted property tax relief three times since it adopted TEEOSA, the state’s school aid aid formula, in 1990.

Slama: “The big problem with property tax relief is you can cut property taxes and do a 1 to 1 shift to other taxation all that  you want, but, unless you have some sort of reform for school funding or some sort of control on local spending towards that end …  You have help and property tax relief for a couple of years and then, a few years later, you’re right back to where you started.”

She said the amendment is only part of the answer for Nebraska because the 3 percent cap would tend to tie the hands of local elected officials and does not provide short-term relief.

Slama: “This is just a limit of three percent annual increase, well, already property taxes are far too high. It doesn’t do much in the short term, but it’s an interesting idea.

She commends the work of the Revenue Committee to find a patchwork solution to property tax proposals this year. While she has preferences, she said she believes she will support whatever property tax relief measure the committee advances.