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Frustrated tax payers share their thoughts on Pillen's proposed tax plan at Plattsmouth town hall

Posted at 11:48 AM, May 31, 2024

With updated home valuations going out to folks across the metro property taxes are once again at the top of many people’s minds.

“It’s kind of like smoke and mirrors here. You are looking at, ok we will give you a break. But then on this side we are gonna collect,” said Phil Lepert, a farmer who attended Pillen's town hall.

It has been more than a month since Governor Jim Pillen promised he would call a special session to bring lawmakers back to Lincoln but it still remains to be seen when that will happen.

At a town hall Thursday Pillen shared that his plan hasn’t changed much, he still wants to broaden the tax base by raising the sales tax and aggressively removing sales tax exemptions, as well as putting strict local controls on spending.

Controls that some in the audience were concerned could be detrimental to local schools.

“Our budgets are by far mostly staff pay and benefits. Not administration. Teachers and support staff. Wouldn’t your plan to cut hard cap school budgets affect our ability to pay our teachers and support staff?” Said Sarah Centineo, a member of the Bellevue Public Schools Board.

“Yea so great question. And, yea, I mean. With kids there are in every one of our communities living in poverty…” responded Pillen.

“I didn’t feel like there was much of a response. It was more of a do better, but we really are doing everything we can with what we have,” said Centenieo

The frustrations weren’t just coming from educators, some were concerned about proposed plans that could drastically change how ag land was evaluated.

“There are days when I regret moving back up here. Because of all the perks and everything we had down in Missouri. Granted there is a lot more population, lot more tourism in Missouri. The only thing we got in this state is ag and you want to zing it to the farmer,” said Lepert.

The biggest question of the town hall is who is holding up the Governor calling a special session.

Pillen has the authority to call one at any time but he said he wants to make sure he has the votes needed to pass a plan before calling the session.

But when asked which senators still aren’t on board Pillen wouldn’t say.

“Who is not on board and who should we reach out to the most so we can get it resolved and get a special session done and get it passed? Why isn’t that just happening?,” said one woman at the town hall.

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