The goals of funding public education should be (1) to provide an equal opportunity for all of the children of Nebraska to acquire an excellent education, (2) to more equitably distribute the financial burden of providing that opportunity and (3) to provide uniform and stable resources for public schools statewide.
Support of public schools should come from a balanced and equitable combination of income, sales, and property taxes. To achieve balance and equity, the current over reliance on property taxes to support schools must be reduced. Support of public schools should come from a balanced and equitable combination of 1/3 income, 1/3 sales, and 1/3 property taxes.
The debate over the role of property taxes in funding education is not a new debate. This has been an ongoing issue for years, which would suggest that there is a systemic problem with the methodology of determining property valuation. I believe the legislature should investigate measuring land value by measuring the income potential per acre rather than the current method heavily dependent upon recent land sales.
I know our Governor is working on putting together packages for the 2016 legislative session to address property taxes. I am hopeful that during this next session our state senators will work hard to provide more tax relief for all Nebraskans. If they don’t I will be ready to take on this challenge in 2017.
We can do better!