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Opinion - Opinion
 
Brewer at the Legislature: Property taxes, beekeepers, fair repair, wind energy moratoriumTell North Platte what you think
 
Photo by Nebraska Unicameral
Tom Brewer

The staff and I have been working on a property tax proposal for the next session.

As you may remember, I attended a press conference on the last day of the session with Sen. Steve Erdman (LD 47, Bayard).

He announced that one way or another, he would introduce a legislative resolution next session that would change the Nebraska Constitution and fix the property tax problem. So far, nearly a dozen groups are involved in helping with this. I think the people are so fed up there will probably be a ballot initiative. Stand by for news as this effort evolves over the summer.

I am behind Sen. Erdman and the people 1,000%. Property taxes are crushing Nebraska. We are the fifth highest in the country, and getting worse. People in my district are being forced to sell homes, farms, and ranches because they can’t afford the property taxes.

I had a rancher tell me he has to sell 80 steer calves just to pay the property taxes on a 16,000 acre ranch. Failing to address this in the last session really upset me. Far too many senators in our legislature are not taking this problem seriously enough.

I’ve been to several meetings on Veterans and Native American issues this past week. I did an interview on Sirius Satellite Radio. My staff were interviewed by a French reporter for a Paris newspaper on the Fair Repair bill.

We have our interim study going on with LB 499. This bill will update the law and protect Nebraska Bee Keepers. I will go out on a limb and predict it sails through the legislature next session. It has generated a lot of very positive interest on the Agriculture Committee.

Once we work out the details with the Department of Agriculture on how the new laws will be implemented, I think we’ll have a very good piece of legislation that is sorely needed by our commercial bee keepers.

We still have 11 bills “held in committee” right now. We’ll be working on those over the interim with amendments to help address the concerns we heard during the hearings.

I said during the hearing last session that LB 504 would be my priority bill next session, and I mean that. This bill puts a two-year moratorium on the construction of new commercial wind energy projects in the Sand Hills. I’m all for private property rights, but there has to be a way we can do this without tearing the community apart.

Pausing construction as this business is carefully studied is prudent, to say the least.

I sent a lot of letters to graduating high school seniors this year, which reminded me that I better go to my 40th class reunion in Gordon next weekend. I look forward to seeing my old classmates.

Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at tbrewer@leg.ne.gov or call us at (402) 471-2628.


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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 6/14/2017
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