Heineman talks property taxes, ag valuations

Governor Dave Heineman told KNEB News today he is willing to consider a change in the way the state assesses ag property for tax purposes.

Ranchers in Scottsbluff and North Platte testifying before the Legislature's Tax Modernization Committee complained of drastic hikes in valuations for farm and ranch land. They suggested the state change to an income based approach used by over forty other states in assessing agricultural land.

Heineman says he needs to see a proposal but is sympathetic to landowner's complaints that agriculture is paying a disproportionate share of property taxes to pay for education and local government. Heineman says when valuations rise, local government should reduce spending so levies decline and taxes don't go up.

Heineman agrees that the state aid to education formula currently favors urban areas over the rural areas of the state and needs to be changed. Heineman opposes adding more services to the state's sales tax and continues to push for changes in income tax rates he believes would benefit the state's small business owners.

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