Nebraska property tax package advances out of committee

Published: Feb. 12, 2020 at 3:26 PM CST
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A bill designed to lower property taxes by boosting state aid for Nebraska’s K-12 public schools advanced Wednesday out of a legislative committee but will still face opposition when lawmakers debate it.

Members of the Revenue Committee voted 6-2 to send the proposal to the full Legislature. The bill has won support from farm and business groups, but some school districts have objected because they would lose some taxing authority and the bill would tighten state-imposed spending restrictions.

Gov. Pete Ricketts said earlier this week that he supports the measure’s “general framework” because it doesn’t raise any taxes, protects an existing property tax credit program and restricts school spending increases.

In his public newspaper column, Ricketts said it’s important to hold “K-12 government schools” accountable for their spending. His remarks prompted an angry rebuke from the state’s public school teachers’ union and some school districts. The remarks resemble recent comments from President Donald Trump, who criticized “failing government schools” in his State of the Union address.

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