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Nebraska's new law eases school bond tax on farmers
Nebraska Ag Connection - 11/15/2023

Nebraska has implemented a new law, LB 2, significantly reducing the tax burden on farmers regarding school bond issues. This change addresses a long-standing issue where agricultural landowners, often the largest landowners in a district, bore a disproportionate share of taxes for school bonds.

The law, championed by State Senator and Treasurer Tom Briese, adjusts the tax rate on farmland from 75% to 50% of its assessed value for school bonds.

This legislation emerges from concerns that a minority of taxpayers, primarily in the agricultural sector, were paying the majority of costs for school projects. Farmers of Broken Bow support the law as it benefits their children's education while easing the financial impact on their farming operations. The Nebraska Farm Bureau, a key advocate for the law, views it as a step towards leveling the playing field in school financing.

The law's implications extend beyond just taxation. It may influence how voters, especially in rural areas, perceive and vote on school bond issues. Upcoming ballots in Broken Bow and Doniphan-Trumbull will be the first tests of this law's impact.

Broken Bow is proposing a $26.5 million project focused on career and technical education, while Doniphan-Trumbull's proposal includes a $23 million renovation and a $9 million new gym, contingent on the primary proposition's success.

LB 2 represents a shift in Nebraska's approach to funding education, potentially reshaping voter attitudes towards school bond issues and providing more balanced financial responsibility among different taxpayer groups.

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