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Ag property valuation being discussed

Posted: 02/10/14 08:24

School groups and counties are expressing concern about a proposal to reduce the taxable value of farm- and ranchland. The Revenue Committee heard testimony on two bills Friday relating to agricultural property valuation. Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha has introduced a bill that would reduce those land valuations over a three-year period from 75 percent to 65 percent. McCoy says it's difficult for producers to keep up with rapidly rising valuations. Farmers like John Knapp testified in favor of the bill. He says the property tax rate for the average 160 acre farm in Sarpy county went up from 3700 dollars in 2008 to 9300 in 2013 a 146 percent increase. Yet, income only went up 38 percent. Renee Fry, executive director of OpenSky Policy Institute, says schools would see a $68.2 million shortfall, and counties would lose $21.9 million if the bill was passed.