I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss issues I consider critical to our future with you personally.

There have been many bills introduced in the first month of the legislative session, but few have garnered more attention than LB1021, 1022, and 1023 introduced by Senator Schumacher. In short, this trio of bills would eliminate sales tax exemptions for agricultural equipment, tax water usage for agricultural irrigation, and eliminate tax incentives for businesses. These bills would have a devastating effect on Dodge County’s economy and family farms for years to come.

However, there is no need to worry about the potential of these bills becoming law. Sen. Schumacher does not expect any of these proposals to get out of committee and stated the bills were more of an “attention-getter”. Sen. Schumacher introduced these bills as a response to Sen. Erdman’s bill, LB829, which would provide $1.1 billion in property tax relief through a state income tax credit. Sen. Schumacher has argued that if $1.1 billion dollars is removed from our state’s budget, that is already facing a $200 million revenue shortfall, bills to close that gap will have to be passed; and many will harm hard-working Nebraskans.

While I can assure you that I stand in firm opposition to Sen. Schumacher’s proposals, I believe his larger argument is one in which we will need to consider as a state to solve our looming challenges. Property taxes in Nebraska are having a crushing effect on many families in Dodge County struggling to get by. Myself and many other senators are focused on identifying ways to give desperately needed property tax relief to the citizens of our great state that can help Nebraska families in the short-term, without risking future opportunities. It is the legislature’s job to craft responsible solutions to very real challenges that our citizens are facing. As your state senator, I am committed to providing residents of Dodge County with substantive property tax relief, but not at the expense of our schools, our infrastructure, or our children’s future.

Sen. Lynne Walz represents District 15 in the Nebraska Legislature. She can be reached at (402) 471-2625 or lwalz@leg.ne.gov.

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