Testimony in Support of LB 717 – Property Tax Valuation

Chairman Gloor and Members of the Revenue Committee:

The Board of Directors of the Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA), on behalf of its more than 1,300 member businesses, offers its support for LB 717. The property tax burden placed on Nebraskans may be one of the largest issues facing Nebraska families and businesses, and we believe this bill will work to address it.

We appreciate the fact that this bill will apply to valuations for all classes of property, including residential, agricultural, and commercial real estate. The proposal would assess all classes of property over the most recent 5 year history of comparable sales – rather than using the past 3 years for agriculture and commercial, and the last 2 years for residential. We believe this change would result in more gradual fluctuations in assessments and better reflect market trends and true inflationary factors that impact real estate values.

At LIBA, we pay attention to the budgets of our local government bodies, and we lobby our elected officials to find ways to help alleviate the burden of property taxes on Lincoln residents. We believe that LB 717 is a good step toward addressing the instability of our current valuation process. Addressing the current valuation method’s ability to produce sharp spikes in property values would go a long way toward helping taxpayers. By smoothing sharp spikes in valuation, taxpayers will hopefully avoid large, single-year valuation increases, while also making it so that local bodies can expect consistent valuation growth numbers to assist in their long-term budget planning.

Because we see this bill as an effort likely to effectively assist property taxpayers, we ask this committee to support LB 717 and to forward it for further consideration.