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School budget restraints a priority for Gov. Ricketts

Posted at 6:24 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 19:24:42-05

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Just months ago the Nebraska Legislature passed a broad compromise bill, LB1107 that lowered the property taxes of both rural and urban Nebraskans. It was popular enough that many state senators campaigned on passing it this past fall.

Friday, Gov. Pete Ricketts said he wants to take it a step further.

“Putting some sort of restraint on those taxes going up is something we were not able to achieve in 1107 and that’s something we’ll have to take up in the legislature in the upcoming session in January,” said Ricketts.

In plain English, this limits on how much school districts can raise their levy, which in turn, restrains how much they can raise their budgets.

This line is nothing new for the governor. In a sit down interview with 3 News Now on the first day of the legislative session this year, he mentioned it as a priority for him agreeing to property tax relief. Both the Unicameral and the governor ended up compromising, so Ricketts said it’s at the top of his list this session.

“That will be a big priority. It will be the next step in what we have to do to continue to get that property tax relief for Nebraskans,” said Ricketts.

But what about the property tax relief this year? It doesn’t automatically come out of your property tax bill, you have to claim it when you fill out your income taxes.

Nebraska Tax Commissioner Tony Fulton says the state is creating a tool where you can calculate how much you paid in school taxes. A percentage that will be going back to you once you complete your taxes.

“This is how you’ll know which portion of your property taxes may be claimed as a credit on your income tax return,” says Fulton.

Ricketts said it saves money for rural and urban Nebraskans.

“If you own a farm in Hamilton County with about 1,000 acres, it’s about a 21% break in your property taxes. If you own a $200,000 home in Lancaster County, it’s about a 17% break on your property taxes.”