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Property tax policy pops up again

Infrastructure spending is also among the issues to be tackled by the Nebraska Legislature.

Don McCabe, Nebraska Farmer Editor

December 20, 2021

3 Min Read
Nebraska Capital
TAX RELIEF: According to the Nebraska Farm Bureau, property tax relief and policy, infrastructure, and broadband will be among the major ag topics debated in the 2022 Unicameral session. Curt Arens

The 2022 Nebraska Legislature, in a “short” 60-day session, will be unlike any in recent years as state senators deal with a truckload of money and decide how it should be spent. Additional property tax relief will be center stage, and debate will be anything but short.

Bruce Rieker, Nebraska Farm Bureau state governmental affairs director, points to three sources of unprecedented funding — a projected increase of between $300 million and $400 million in state tax revenues, as of late October for the 2021-22 budget; federal pandemic relief (American Rescue Plan Act) funding; and the massive federal infrastructure bill passed by Congress last fall.

Of the total $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill, Nebraska is expected to receive nearly $2.5 billion for the state’s roads and bridges, broadband expansion and other infrastructure improvements over the next five years, Rieker says. It’s a “rare moment of opportunity for Nebraska this session,” he says.

Tax relief

Rieker says that additional property tax relief will be emphasized. In the 2021 session, Nebraska’s property tax credit program was boosted by $25 million for 2021 and $13 million for 2022.

“This is a property tax credit applied ahead of paying your taxes,” he says. “Also, in 2020, a new refundable income tax credit was established that allows Nebraskans to claim, for the first time, an income tax credit based on property taxes they pay to K-12 schools.”

In 2021, the growth in the income tax credit alone resulted in a 25% drop in producers’ property tax bills, Rieker says, and the two credit programs combined brought property tax relief of $6,400 for the average farm and ranch, he adds.

“In 2022, we hope to improve on the property tax credit program,” Rieker says. “There also will be attempts to lower the state income tax.”

Tax structure will be rehashed again, such as efforts to reexamine how to best pay for K-12 education.

Higher state tax receipts than originally projected will mean some adjustments in the 2021-22 state budget as requests come in from senators, agencies and organizations for projects not previously funded. “We’ll adjust the budget to accommodate some of these deficit requests,” says state Sen. John Stinner of Gering, the Appropriations Committee chair.


Nebraska’s share of the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill and how that share is distributed will be a hot topic, especially for roads and bridges. In Nebraska, 9% of the bridges are considered in poor condition.

The federal infrastructure bill also will funnel millions into broadband expansion in Nebraska, an issue that is a Farm Bureau priority. That’s a welcome shot in the arm for the state, considering Nebraska ranks 48th in broadband access.

In addition, a law called the Nebraska Broadband Bridge Act was passed in last year’s session. It provided $40 million in grants the next two years for broadband expansion projects.

High-speed internet is needed for precision ag applications and for rural areas that now don’t have high-speed access.

The Farm Bureau is working with six other Nebraska ag organizations in offering recommendations on how to allocate these funds in in the state, including the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Soybean Association, Nebraska State Dairy Association, Nebraska Cattleman, Nebraska Pork Producers, and Nebraska Wheat Growers Association.

Follow Unicameral legislative developments at

McCabe is the former editor of Nebraska Farmer. He writes from Lincoln, Neb.

About the Author(s)

Don McCabe

Nebraska Farmer Editor

Growing up on a farm near Newcastle, Neb., Don McCabe was always interested in agriculture. After a four-year stint in the U.S. Navy, he earned his journalism degree from the University of Nebraska. He joined the staff at Nebraska Farmer in 1977, first as a writer and eventually serving for many years as the publication's editor. McCabe is now retired in Lincoln, but still contributes regularly to Nebraska Farmer as a freelance writer. 

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