County leader says property taxes are killing rural areas

State lawmakers are being called back to Lincoln next month to address the state’s financial woes and they’re already getting an earful about taxes from local leaders.
Knox County Supervisor Rayder Swanson told members of the legislature’s Revenue Committee, meeting in Bloomfield this week, how rising property taxes threaten the survival of rural areas.
“The rural or agricultural sector is carrying an ever-increasing load of taxation,” Swanson says. “The agricultural evaluations have increased because of high crop prices, low interest rates and wealthy investors buying land. These high values should bring levees down but it only fuels more spending to qualify for state aid dollars.”
Swanson says a proposed study of the state tax system needs a special focus on assessments and valuations of property. “The study needs to include ways for the state aid money to be more stepped, programmed to protect the taxpayer,” Swanson says. “Some taxpayers will see their taxes double next year due to the sales-based formula. There is little possibility their taxes will decrease in the near future unless we add a reduction base in the existing formula.”
A report shows Nebraska’s net tax revenues in September were 40-million dollars below projections. Governor Heineman is calling a special legislative session that will start November 4th to address the shortfall.
Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton