Farmland Valuation Reduced for School Bond Purposes – Unicameral Update

Lawmakers approved a bill on May 19 to shift the cost of school obligations to owners of farmland and ranching.

Senator Tom Briese

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Sen. Tom briese

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Senator Tom Briese

Agricultural and horticultural land is assessed at 75 percent of its actual value for property tax purposes under applicable law.

Under LB2, introduced by Albion Senator Tom Briese, these lands are assessed at 50% of their actual value for the purposes of school district taxes levied to pay principal and interest on bonds approved by a popular vote from the date entry into force of the law.

Omaha Senator Machaela Cavanaugh opposed LB2. Under Briese’s proposal, she said, owners of residential and commercial buildings would pay more taxes to pay off school bond debt.

Cavanaugh tabled a motion to put the bill on brackets until June 6, which failed on a 2-39 vote.

After four hours of final reading debate, Briese tabled a motion to invoke closure, which ends debate and forces a vote on the bill and any pending amendments. He succeeded on a 40-1 vote. Thirty-three votes were needed.

Senators then voted 36-6 to adopt LB2.

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