Harms, Heineman disagree on tax relief options

State Senator John Harms of Scottsbluff says he is still uncomfortable with taking money out of the state's cash reserve for property tax relief.

Governor Heineman is proposing taking over $200 million from the cash reserve to fund his tax relief proposals, which could amount to as much as half a billion dollars. Harms told KNEB News Wednesday economic forecasts of a flat economy in the next twelve months make him reluctant to support reducing the cash reserve.

Governor Heineman Wednesday night, during his stop in Scottsbluff, respectfully disagreed, maintaining there is more than enough money available for tax relief. He says $500 Million is more than enough for the cash reserve and maintains the state has $1.2 billion in its checking and savings account.

Harms also says an option other than changing the process to assess ag land values would be a better way to address property tax relief for agriculture and homeowners. Governor Heineman is endorsing a Nebraska Farm Bureau proposal to assess ag land at 65% of its valuation rather than 75% to provide necessary tax relief for ranchers and farmers.

Harms says he needs to see how much property tax relief would be provided under the Governor's proposal. But he told KNEB News a better option might be putting more into the state aid to schools formula, which would provide tax relief for all property owners.

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